Thousands of fans streamed out of a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande, in the English city of Manchester, when a suicide bomber struck, killing at least 22 people and wounding 59 others.
Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack, making it the deadliest such assault in Britain since four British extremists killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London's transport system in July 2005.
As feelings of horror and grief took over Manchester, the city displayed its true Mancunian spirit.
#RoomForManchester began to trend on Twitter with locals coming together and offering shelter to those affected by the blasts.
If you need a bed, a cup of tea, a charged phone etc. - I'm 15 mins from Manchester Arena. DM me, they're open! #RoomForManchester
— Rachel Ellis (@rachelkellis) May 22, 2017
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, also took to Twitter to express his condolences. He tweeted out the #RoomForMAnchester and #MissingInManchester, urging people to come out and help in all ways possible.
— Mayor Andy Burnham (@MayorofGM) May 23, 2017
One of the Twitter users said, “ If someone needs a place to stay in Manchester let me know. Have room for a few and safe and sound. Pray for those not as lucky.”
People were seen looking for their missing loved ones and children after the blast. Many turned to social media to seek help.
— TheHeavier🅱️id (@SellingGarrys) May 22, 2017
Another user tweeted, "Everyone pls share this, my little sister Emma was at the Ari concert tonight in #Manchester and she isn't answering her phone, pls help me," alongside a picture of a blonde-haired girl with flowers in her hair.
Paula Robinson, 48, was at the train station next to the arena with her husband when she felt the explosion and saw dozens of teenage girls screaming and running away from the arena.
"We ran out," she told Reuters. "It was literally seconds after the explosion. I got the teens to run with me." Robinson said she took dozens of teenage girls to the nearby Holiday Inn Express hotel and tweeted out her phone number to worried parents telling them to meet her there. She said her phone had not stopped ringing since her tweet.
However, there was some confusion about which hotel she meant. Holiday Inn later issued a statement, saying it did not take in concert-goers.
For customers who are in Manchester now if any one needs to come back to Bury just call us taxi for free
— Elton Bullitt Taxis (@EltonBullitt) May 23, 2017
Mancunians were also keen to dispel religious bigotry which was playing out on social media after the blast by sharing the diversity of the city's generous folks.
The reality is Muslim taxi drivers are offering free lifts, Muslim doctors working saving lives, Muslim o-negative blood donated #Manchester
— Kate Teneighty (@KTeneighty) May 23, 2017
— Channie_Mac (@channie_mac) May 23, 2017
The NHS blood and transplant service posted information on their official twitter accounts.
— GiveBlood NHS ❤ (@GiveBloodNHS) May 23, 2017
Some parents also shared their relief on social media. Joy Division bassist Peter Hook, whose daughter attended the Grande concert, tweeted this after she returned home safe:
My daughter made it home safe from Ariana Grande last night. My heart goes out to all parents & those involved. Manchester stay strong. X
— Peter Hook (@peterhook) May 23, 2017
The people of Manchester displayed an incredible generosity and compassion on an otherwise dark night.
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 23, 2017
Burnage Labour Councillor Bev Craig tweeted, “Mancunians opening their homes to those stranded, and businesses offering free rides. This is the Manchester I love.”