Bombing victim Saffie Rose was 'let down' by emergency services

‘Saffie did all she could but didn’t get that chance to survive’: Furious parents of Manchester Arena bombing’s youngest victim, eight, say their little girl was ‘let down’ by ‘inadequate’ emergency service response

  • Saffie Rose, eight, was the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena bombing
  • The horrific terrorist attack killed 22 people and injured hundreds more in 2017
  • A new report into the attack has found multiple failings by emergency services 
  • Her father, Andrew Roussos, said she should have been saved on the night 

The parents of eight year-old Saffie Rose who died in the Manchester Arena bombing attack have said she would still be alive if it were not for the failings of the emergency services.

Father Andrew Roussos rejected the apologies of 999 teams who responded to the terror attack in 2017, insisting his ‘fighter’ Saffie could have survived if they had been there faster.

She was the youngest of 22 people killed, with hundreds more injured, when suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a homemade device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, at 10.31pm on May 22, 2017. 

An inquiry into the attack has said there were failings in the emergency services’ response to the attack and that one victim, John Atkinson, most likely would have survived were it not for those failings.

The report added there was a ‘remote possibility’ Saffie Rose could have also survived if she had been given ‘different treatment and care’.  

Saffie Rose, eight, died from her injuries following the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017

Her father, Andrew Roussos, said he would not accept the apology of the emergency services over her death 

Mr Roussos told Sky News: ‘We know Saffie as a person – she would do everything she possibly could to stay alive, and she did. 

‘Saffie did all she could to survive but didn’t get that chance to survive.’ 

When asked if he accepted the apologies of the emergency services, he said: ‘No, I don’t accept apologies.

‘You know, what I do expect is for them to be honest and put their hands up, particularly throughout the inquiry, and admit to the failings because without admitting to the failings, how can you change for the future?’

Following the publication of the second report of the Manchester Arena bombing inquiry, other bereaved families also slammed the emergency services for ‘glaring failures’.

The emergency services involved on the night have unanimously accepted the findings of Sir John Saunders’ report and apologised ‘wholeheartedly’.

Family lawyer Kim Harrison, who represented 11 of the deceased families, said the report made clear that the ‘so-called golden hour after the attack was utterly squandered by the catastrophic response of the emergency services’.

The second of three reports into the attack, led by Manchester Arena Inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders, identified that the response from emergency services fell ‘far below the standard it should have been’.

Saffie’s family carry her coffin at her heartbreaking funeral in Manchester in 2017 

Describing the two victims who could have lived, Sir John said: ‘In the case of John Atkinson, his injuries were survivable. It is likely that the inadequacies in the emergency response prevented his survival.’ 

Mr Atkinson, a care worker from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, was just six metres away from the bomb when it detonated, leaving him with serious leg injuries.

In the aftermath of the bombing, Mr Atkinson was dragged from the City Room foyer to a footbridge outside the Arena where he was taken to a casualty clearing station on the concourse of Victoria railway station.

Still conscious and speaking, he repeatedly told people caring for him: ‘I’m going to die.’

However, he had to wait one hour and 29 minutes to be put into an ambulance and, despite attempts by another concert-goer to stem the bleeding, suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

Sir John said that had Mr Atkinson ‘received the treatment and care he should have, it is likely he would have survived’.


Saffie-Rose Roussos (pictured left) and John Atkinson (right), who were killed in the Manchester Arena bombing which claimed the lives of 22 innocent people could have been saved, a damning report released today has found

Abedi at Victoria Station making his way to the Manchester Arena, on May 22, 2017, where he detonated his bomb

Mr Atkinson’s family said he had been ‘totally failed at every stage’.

Saffie-Rose, was standing just five yards away from attacker Salman Abedi when he detonated his device. Her mother and older sister were also badly injured, but for up to 15 minutes after the blast Saffie was still able to talk as poster seller Paul Reid did what he could to comfort her.

After finally giving up on waiting for paramedics, Mr Reid helped two police officers carry the girl outside on an advertising hoarding, before one of the PCs flagged down an ambulance.

It took a further 52 minutes to get her to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where she tragically went into cardiac arrest because of how much blood she had lost.

Lawyers representing North West Ambulance Service told the hearing the ‘brutal reality’ was that the first paramedics who arrived on the scene had a duty to treat those with the best chance of survival.

However, Sir John said that he could not ‘exclude the remote possibility that Saffie-Rose Roussos would have survived’ with immediate medical treatment.

Lawyers for North West Ambulance Service told the inquiry there were ‘simply not enough paramedics’ at the scene.

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