FAILURES by emergency services led to the deaths of two Manchester Arena bombing victims, their anguished families say.
The parents of the youngest, Saffie-Rose Roussos, yesterday said the eight-year-old would have “100 per cent” survived.
And John Atkinson’s family said he had been “totally failed at every stage” by the 999 services.
They lashed out after publication of a damning report into Salman Abedi’s 2017 suicide attack, which killed 22 at an Ariana Grande gig.
Inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders said he could not rule out the possibility Saffie might have been saved with better treatment.
He also said it was “likely that inadequacies in the emergency response” prevented Mr Atkinson surviving the bombing.
Sir John insisted the performance of police, ambulance and fire services on the night were “far below the standard it should have been”. He went on: “For those who are critically injured, minutes or seconds can count.”
Saffie, of Leyland, Lancs, who had 103 injuries, was conscious when she was carried out on an advertising hoarding 26 minutes after the blast. But she died in hospital from blood loss an hour and nine minutes later.
Last night, dad Andrew told Sky News: “Saffie did all she could to survive but didn’t get that chance to survive.
“And we believe 100 per cent that if she got that chance, she would have survived.” Asked if he accepted apologies by emergency services for their response to the bombing, he replied: “No, I don’t accept apologies. What I do expect is for them to be honest and admit to the failings.”
Saffie’s mum Lisa told the BBC: “I believe in my heart she would have survived had she been given the correct medical attention.
“It was the emergency services that let her down.”
In his report, Sir John said: “I do not consider the evidence enables me to say she had absolutely no chance of survival if the most and advanced medical treatment had been initiated immediately after injury.”
But he added: “It is highly likely that her death was inevitable.”
Mr Atkinson’s family said the 28-year-old had been “totally failed at every stage” by the emergency services. In a statement, they added: “It is crystal clear that due to those failings, John died from injuries he could and should have survived.” Mr Atkinson, of Radcliffe, Gtr Manchester, suffered serious leg injuries and died from blood loss.
The inquiry found the care worker “would probably have survived” if tourniquets had been used up to 45 minutes afterwards.
Delivering the second of three reports into what happened on the night, Sir John said police chiefs were overwhelmed and there was no coordinated response.
He said failures meant “unduly cautious” medics remained off site. Just three were able to help the injured while firefighters did not arrive until two hours later.
Sir John said: “Everyone involved no doubt thought they were doing their best. In some cases . . . their best was not good enough.”
The retired High Court judge said it was clear lessons had not been learned from the 7/7 terror attacks where 56 people died on London’s transport network in 2005.
But he hailed the bravery of members of the public who “heroically and selflessly” helped the injured and showed “extraordinary courage and compassion”.
The report makes 149 recommendations, including medical training for all cops and firefighters. First aid should also be on the national curriculum for all schoolchildren.
Sir John also warned authorities needed to close the “care gap” between a terror attack and the time it takes for help to arrive.
The inquiry’s first report came in June 2021. It revealed that security officials and police missed at least seven chances to stop Abedi, 22. It also criticised the operators of the arena and its stewarding firm.
The third and final report will focus on Abedi’s radicalisation and what the intelligence services and counter-terrorism police knew.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Stephen Watson yesterday “apologised unreservedly” for the force’s “inadequate” response.
He said: “Sadly, GMP’s combined failings were significant and contributed to the loss of life. To the families and loved ones of those who died, I am truly sorry.”
More than 150 survivors are preparing civil claims for damages.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman welcomed the report and said she would “carefully consider” its recommendations.
In August 2020, Abedi’s younger brother Hashem, now 25, was jailed for at least 55 years for his role in plotting the attack.
BLUNDERS THAT FOLLOWED BLAST
TIMELINE to the tragedy at the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017.
6pm: Doors open for 14,000 fans attending the Ariana Grande gig.
10.31pm: Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonates his device.
10.34pm: North West Fire Control is notified of mass casualties.
10.41pm: Within two minutes, a British Transport Police officer is on scene and within ten, at least 12 officers have reached the area.
10.45pm: Greater Manchester Police launches its pre-planned response to a terrorist attack.
10.46pm: North West Ambulance Service declares a major incident.
10.50pm: First paramedic arrives.
11pm: Ambulances begin to arrive but medics do not deploy.
11pm: Sgt Kam Hare from the Tactical Aid Unit of GMP tells a PC: “We need the f***ing medics.”
11.02pm: A GMP officer calls his control saying: “We need paramedics like f***ing yesterday!”
11.10pm: Eight ambulances are on scene but only one medic enters. One injured person is taken out in the first 40 minutes.
11.12pm: NWAS Hazardous Area Response Team arrives.
11.17pm: John Atkinson, 28, is evacuated on a makeshift stretcher to a triage area.
11.23pm: Ambulance with Saffie-Rose Roussos arrives at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
11.40pm: Saffie is declared dead.
11.47pm: Mr Atkinson goes into cardiac arrest in an ambulance.
11.52pm: Final casualty evacuated.
12.24am: Mr Atkinson is declared dead at hospital.
12.37am: The first fire engine arrives on the scene.
1am: GMP officially declares a major incident.