Lancaster student, 17, relives Manchester Arena explosion

A Lancaster teenager has described the moment she rescued two girls from being trampled following the devastating explosion at the Manchester Arena on Monday.

Tuesday, 23rd May 2017, 12:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:30 pm
Ella McDonnell and her friend Emily at the Manchester Arena prior to the attack.

Lancaster and Morecambe College student Ella Donnelly, 17, who lives on the Vale, had gone to the Ariana Grande concert with her friend Emily on a coach from Lancaster on May 22.

She said she heard the explosion and told her friend to “pick up your stuff and run”, and the pair rushed for the exit.

Ella said: “When the explosion went off I saw lots of girls pushing eachother.

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Scene at the Manchester Arena.

“There was a loud bang and we got told it was a balloon being popped into a microphone.

“I just said pick up your stuff and run. I dragged my friend up and said we’ve got to get out.

“I knew people were hurt.

“All I could smell was fire and smoke, it didn’t smell like a normal fire.

Scene at the Manchester Arena.

“The two girls were on the floor ducking, I think they thought people were firing bullets.

“There was a siren going off telling us to evacuate the building.

“I just dragged them up and pushed them forward and told them they can’t duck on the stairs because they were going to be trampled.”

Ella, who is studying childcare and is the second oldest of seven children, said she wasn’t feeling scared, and she was more concered about other people than herself.

She said she had heard two explosions.

She said: “We got outside and I was debating whether to ring my mum but I didn’t want to scare her.

“But then I thought I better had because she would be worried.

“We took the coach back home and got back at 1am and my mum was waiting for us on the doorstep and she gave me and Emily a big hug.

“All last night I couldn’t sleep. I was just imagining it all happening again.”

Ella said the terrifying experience, which has so far claimed the lives of 22 people, and injured another 59, would not put her off from attending concerts in the future.

She said: “I’ve been to Manchester once on my own, but not a concert like that, it was so big.

It wouldn’t stop me from going to a show like this. I just wouldn’t do it on my own I’d just get my mum to come with me.

“I just like putting people before myself, it’s more important than thinking about yourself.

“My mum keeps on telling me how proud she is.”

Ella’s mum Lorraine said: “She called me and told me what had happened and I was screaming at her saying get out of there.

“She had put their safety before her own, and pushed them until they managed to get out. I am very proud of her.”

Manchester Police said the attacker died at the scene following injuries sustained from an apparent improvised bomb.

There are still children that are either missing or have not been reunited with their parents.

A vig