A day after a deadly terror attack in Manchester, England, a Las Vegas man who was in Manchester Arena when the bomb went off described the chaos and confusion he witnessed that night.
Zack Purciful is a part of the production crew that works behind the scenes of Ariana Grande’s tour. Purciful spoke exclusively with 8 News NOW by Skype from England Tuesday night.
“Shrieks and like, basically panic reaction of retreating from the exit aisles; that was basically picked up very, very quickly,” Purciful said.
According to Purciful, the moments after the attack were very confusing as he and the rest of Grande’s crew tried to figure out why everyone was scrambling.
Purciful said, with all of the loud exit music playing in the arena, when he heard the bang, he thought and wondered if some of the balloons released at the end of the show had popped, but that wasn’t it.
According to Purciful, in the moments following the explosion, he saw young, scared kids scrambling for a safe place to exit the Manchester Arena.
Purciful, who’s from Las Vegas, says it took him a few minutes for to realize everything that was happening wasn’t a drill.
“This was the real deal, Purciful said. “There were bodies.”
A fellow crew member rushed to the P.A. system and calmly advised people to slow down and exit carefully. Purciful said he evacuated the arena as SWAT-like teams with stone cold expressions swarmed the building.
Purciful described their demeanor saying they had, “a full kit, just like you would expect from a group of guys going into a bad situation. Full body armor, long rifles and a determined look on their face.”
Video and pictures showed a chaotic crowd of concert-goers waiting outside of the exits.
“I basically witnessed emergency vehicles all night,” Purciful said. “Sirens and blue lights all night.”
In the meantime, some people searched for loved ones.
“I made a quick group text to my family to let them know something happened and that I’m ok,” Purciful said.
“Everything we do is for the kids, so for them to target the kids — it’s the most heartbreaking thing in the world,” Purciful said.
“It’s hard to quantify.”
Purciful said the ordeal has left him with a “feeling of hopelessness.”
The bomb ignited a chain of emotions for every person there as it changed 20,000 lives forever.
“This is certainly a wake-up call about the realities of the world,” Purciful said.
According to Purciful, a lot of crew members, including those from Las Vegas, are staying in London until they figure out their next move.
Around 14 trucks of equipment, staging, and props are still inside the arena as investigators continue to go through all the evidence.