The youngest victim of the Manchester Arena terror attack asked paramedics ‘am I going to die?’ after she enjoyed the ‘night of her life’ at the Ariana Grande concert, a public inquiry has heard.
Saffie-Rose, eight, suffered massive blood loss from shrapnel wounds to her legs caused by the explosion in the City Room foyer of the venue.
Her father, Andrew Roussos, said his daughter was on ‘cloud nine’ before she left their family home in Leyland, Lancashire, for the performance.
She was the youngest of 22 people killed in an horrific terror attack carried out by Salman Abedi after an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.
Saffie-Rose Roussos (pictured), eight, from Leyland, Lancashire, suffered massive blood loss from shrapnel wounds to her legs caused by the explosion in the City Room foyer of the venue
The Manchester Arena bombing carried out by Salman Abedi in May 2017 (pictured)
The schoolgirl had travelled to the concert with her mother Lisa and sister Ashlee Bromwich, who were also both also injured in the blast, before Abedi detonated a bomb inside the venue’s foyer.
The youngster had earlier enjoyed ‘the night of her life’ singing and dancing, the inquiry was told, as she watched her idol perform.
A member of the public, Paul Reid, initially tended to and reassured her as the girl asked for her mother and about what had happened.
He went on to stay by her side for more than 30 minutes before she was eventually placed into an ambulance outside the adjoining Victoria railway station.
An off-duty nurse, Bethany Crook, also joined them as Saffie-Rose started to slip in and out of consciousness before they, with a number of British Transport Police officers, carried her out of the City Room on an advertising board.
Ms Crook stated she was ‘surprised’ to find no ambulance or additional medical staff waiting when they arrived outside at the Trinity Way exit of the station, the inquiry was told.
Saffie Rose’s mother Lisa, brother Xander and sister Ashlee Bromwich attend the eight-year-old’s colourful funeral following the horrific attack. A devastating report has shared Saffie’s final moments, as a public inquiry into the attack prepares to hear more about the emergency service response
Police’s desperate calls for help as only one medic visited terror site in first 43 minutes
PC Matthew Hill who was in the City Room foyer at 11.02pm, where the explosion had taken place half an hour earlier, and was heard on his radio saying to a colleague: ‘We need paramedics, like f***** yesterday.’
At 11.08pm, a PC Mark Kay walked over to his colleague PC Michael Ball and said: ‘There is nobody we can move really is there?’
PC Ball replied: ‘Not really no, they are all really badly injured. If we start moving people, we need paramedics basically.’
Sgt Kam Hare of the Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit entered the City Room at 10.50pm and recalled ‘shouting over the radio for paramedics to enter the City Room.’
A number of police officers discussed putting Saffie-Rose into the back of a police vehicle and driving her to hospital but Ms Crook said the youngster would not survive the journey without ‘proper care and stability’.
Eventually a passing ambulance en route to an agreed rendezvous point, situated away from the arena, came after it was flagged down by an officer shouting and waving on the pavement.
The inquiry heard that North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) paramedic Gillian Yates recalled Saffie-Rose asking her in the back of the ambulance: ‘Am I going to die?’
She said: ‘That was all Saffie-Rose said. She was not engaging in conversation with us.
‘I tried to reassure her but when people ask this question it is a bad sign as it is usually asked by people who are really ill, and the fact she was asking it concerned me greatly.’
Her colleague, NWAS emergency medical technician Gemma Littler, said she knew as soon as she saw the patient on the ambulance that they would lose her.
She stated: ‘I reassured her she was safe, that we were going to hospital and we would look after her. I did what I could for her. I reassured her as much as I could even when she asked me if she was going to die.
‘I responded in what I hope is the most reassuring way possible for her to hear.’
The ambulance arrived at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital at 11.23pm – 52 minutes after the bombing – but Saffie-Rose was pronounced dead at 11.40pm.
Ms Bromwich stated to the inquiry that her younger sister had ‘the night of her life’ watching Grande perform.
She said: ‘She was elated. She partied the night away and she was in her element.’
Saffie-Rose’s father, Andrew stated he had never seen his daughter so excited to see her idol perform.
He said: ‘She was on cloud nine.’
The inquiry is looking into the circumstances of Saffie-Rose’s death this week, with a number of experts in disagreement about whether she could have survived her injuries.
In January the inquiry heard that two victims, including Saffie-Rose, ‘may have’ survived if treated earlier.
Dozens of police officers and civilians arrived at the bomb site in the City Room foyer using first aid kits to try and help in the aftermath of the atrocity.
Saffie-Rose Roussos was leaving the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in May 2017 with her mother Lisa (pictured together) and her sister Ashlee Bromwich, when Salman Abedi detonated a bomb in the venue’s foyer
But while at least eight ambulances visited the area, only one paramedic Patrick Ennis went in, before leaving after five minutes.
Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry at the time said: ‘It is notable that 40 minutes after explosion, despite the presence of numerous members of NWAS staff, Patrick Ennis was the only NWAS paramedic to have been into the City Room.
‘Why that was so is plainly something that will need to be closely examined in evidence.
‘On the basis of material generated since I made my opening statement, survivability is an issue in the case of Saffie.’
‘It was only at 11.14pm that the NWAS hazardous area response team (HART) arrived at the station, which had been established in 2009 and equipped with specialist equipment and skills in order to access and treat patients in difficult and hazardous conditions after a terrorist attack.
‘One of the issues the inquiry will want to consider is why a team with obvious specialist skills to bear did not arrive until 43 minutes after the explosion.’
Saffie’s family had initially believed the youngster had died instantly in the blast, but a report commissioned by them revealed in January she may have survived for up to an hour, before dying as a result of blood loss from her leg injuries.