Old Trafford bomb scare: Singaporean Man Utd fan was seated at area where suspicious package was found

Old Trafford bomb scare: Singaporean Man Utd fan was seated at area where suspicious package was found
Mr Khoo Yap Meng, 29, who was seated at the North-West Quadrant of the 75,600 capacity stadium, said that the first announcement to evacuate was made 20 minutes before the scheduled kick-off at 1400 GMT (10pm Singapore Time).
PHOTO: AsiaOne / AFP

Update: Police have confirmed that the suspicious package that triggered a bomb scare at Old Trafford on Sunday (May 15) was a training device, BBC reported.

SINGAPORE - It was a close shave for Singaporean football fan Khoo Yap Meng, who travelled to Old Trafford this week to catch his favourite football club play in a Premier League match against Bournemouth on Sunday (May 15).

Mr Khoo, 29, was seated at the area where a suspicious package was found at the North West Quadrant of the 75,600 capacity stadium.

The package, which is reported to contain a phone with wires, was found in a toilet, according to media reports. A controlled explosion was carried out by the bomb disposal team, police said.

on Twitter

"The suspected bomb was found in the NW quadrant, where I was seated. Blessing in disguise I guess," Mr Khoo, a marketing executive told AsiaOne.

Recounting the evacuation, Mr Khoo said that the first announcement to evacuate was made 20 minutes before the scheduled kick-off at 1400 GMT (10pm Singapore Time).

"[The stewards] got us to move as far away from the grounds as possible," he said.

"Stewards on the ground initially told us that the game was delayed for 45 mins while they were mentioning something about 'Code Red'.

"10 mins after the initial announcement, it was announced on the PA that the match against against Bournemouth has been abandoned."

Mr Khoo added that fans were ordered to evacuate the ground in "double quick time", and most people learnt of the real reason from their phones.

on Twitter

"The fans were frustrated initially as we all thought we couldn't watch the match. After we found out the real reason, everybody started to move. The evacuation was a bit messy initially, but it was later orderly."

Mr Isaac Teo, 39, was queueing up at the west gate to enter the stadium grounds when the evacuation happened.

"I was queueing to enter the stadium when there was a PA announcement for everybody to evacuate to the car park," the AXA director said.

"I was curious as I didn't know what was happening. I feel a little disappointed because this is supposed to be my first live match but safety is of utmost importance.

"The club did the right thing [to evacuate the fans]. I am glad no one got hurt," Mr Teo added.

The game "has been abandoned, fans are leaving the ground. Please avoid the area if possible," Manchester police said on their Twitter account.

AFP reported that half of the stands at Old Trafford were evacuated. United later confirmed that a suspicious package had been discovered in the Stretford End stand.

on Twitter

"Due to a suspect package being found in the North West Quadrant, today's match has been abandoned on police advice," the club said.

Sniffer dogs were used to search the area. Greater Manchester Police confirmed that the army bomb disposal squad were at the ground, ESPN FC reported.

Public address announcements instructed supporters in the South and East Stands - including the travelling contingent of Bournemouth fans - to remain in their seats before the game was called off, AFP added.

It is the second security alert in less than a week involving Manchester United.

Earlier in the week on Monday (May 9), Manchester United's match against West Ham United was delayed after their team bus was attacked by fans.

grongloh@sph.com.sg

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