A mother pleaded with the rescuers not to let her daughter die as she lay on the floor of the Manchester In the lobby of the Arena, as a father implored his unconscious son to start breathing, a public inquiry has been heard.
The desperation of distraught parents trying to save their children was exposed Monday, as the investigation into the 2017 atrocity explores whether any of the 22 victims could have survived had they been given better care. Only three paramedics were deployed to help the victims, the investigation has already been heard.
Sorrell Leczkowski, a 14-year-old from Leeds, was twenty feet from Salman Abedi when he detonated a suicide bomb after the Ariana Grande concert. An aspiring architect who loved crafts and baking, she had not attended the fair, but had gone to find her sister and a friend.
The investigation heard as Sorrell waited in the City Room lobby with her mother, Samantha, and her aunt, Pauline Healey, singing and dancing and making them all laugh.
The bomb exploded at 10:31 p.m. and CCTV footage showed Sorrell lying on the ground. Philip Clegg, a travel security officer, later told investigators that she “looked calm, like she was asleep.” A succession of first responders and police performed CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on her, and also used a defibrillator, but she did not respond.
At 22:57, Marianne Gibson, a lifeguard for the Arena Emergency Training UK (ETUK) medical service provider, told Samantha: “I’m afraid he’s gone.” Samantha pleaded with him to “don’t let Sorrell die,” so the revival attempts continued for another 10 minutes, when they covered him with a high-visibility jacket to indicate that he had died.
On Monday, the investigation also heard from the parents of two other teenagers killed in the attack. Michael Hurley ran to the City Room to find his 15-year-old daughter Megan, unconscious on the ground, alongside her brother, Bradley, who was conscious but seriously injured and unable to move. “Come on Megan, love,” Hurley said, as officers gave emergency first aid.
Megan’s eyes were closed and she was clearly hurt and although there was no damage to her face, she was not moving and was not responding.
Eilidh MacLeod, 15, was also killed in the attack. The investigation heard how she enjoyed a day of shopping at the Trafford Center with her friend, Laura, and her mother, Marion, before going to the Arena. He FaceTimeed his mother after taking a seat, showing her the merchandise he had bought.
“She loved life,” Marion told the investigation in a statement. “I told her to sing her heart out and dance the night away and I told her I would come back to find her.”
Marion was waiting outside the Arena when the bomb went off. “That’s when our whole world was torn apart,” he said.
Clegg’s body camera showed Eilidh unconscious on the ground, four meters from Abedi.
The autopsies of Sorrell, Megan and Eilidh later found that they all suffered injuries that were “insurmountable” even with advanced medical treatment. Sorrell’s aunt, Pauline Healey, was seriously injured but survived, as did Bradley Hurley.
Sir John Saunders, chair of the investigation, paid tribute to each girl. “It is ironic that so many of the victims of this evil attack were especially full of life and also so talented,” he said.
Eilidh played bagpipes and Sorrell had her heart set on studying architecture at Columbia University in New York. After his death, he was awarded an honorary college membership by Columbia. “It’s very sad that it was a posthumous membership,” Saunders said.
He told Megan’s parents that it was clear that their daughter was a “lovely person.” “Everyone here understands why her father was so reluctant to let her go.”