Belfast Telegraph

Emmerdale's Isabel Hodgins caught up in terrorist attack at Ariana Grande gig

The 23-year-old star, known for her role as Victoria Sugden in the ITV soap, thought a balloon had popped when she first heard the noise of the explosion.

Emmerdale actress Isabel Hodgins narrowly avoided being injured as she attended the Ariana Grande gig at Manchester Arena on Monday night (22May17), where a terrorist attack killed 22 people.

The 23-year-old star, known for her role as Victoria Sugden in the ITV soap, was just one of the concertgoers at the gig, and thought a balloon had popped when she first heard the explosion.

"The concert had just finished and we were all leaving and then there was a big bang to our left. Everybody ran away from that immediate area," Isabel told Sky News. "We didn't know what had happened. People were screaming and running but then it kind of died down.

"We didn't know if a balloon had gone off, because balloons had been released in the concert so we didn't know if it was that."

Regardless of being unsure of what caused the loud noise, concertgoers inside the venue began pushing up the stairs, trying to escape the arena.

"As we got out, everybody was screaming and crying and then the corridor was full of... it smelled of burning and there was quite a lot of smoke as we were leaving," she continued.

"The area had been blocked off so we couldn't go any further but we managed to get out quite quickly and then there was just lots of police and ambulances arriving as we were leaving."

Isabel also took to Twitter as the incident unfolded, telling fans: "At the Ariana grande concert and heard a large bang/ explosion. We were evacuated. No idea what's happening... Don't think it was a balloon next to a mic because the corridor smelt of burning and there was smoke."

The lone male attacker set off an improvised explosive device in the box office area of the venue as people were leaving the concert, killing 22 and injuring 59 people, Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins has confirmed.

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