Baton Rouge woman recounts how she survived deadly Manchester attack

Baton Rouge woman recounts how she survived deadly Manchester attack

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two days after the deadly attack at a concert in Manchester, England, a Baton Rouge woman who was at the concert is recounting the events of the tragic night.

Video she shot just moments after the attack shows the panic that erupted outside the Manchester Arena Monday night, but Caterina Ranzino says it does not quite capture the absolute chaos.

"The way these people were just screaming and running and the looks on their faces, you knew whatever that sound was, whatever they're running from, it's bad," said Ranzino.

Ranzino, who is studying abroad in Europe, was on the floor of the concert that night taking a break from her studies. She says Ariana Grande had just wrapped up her set and walked offstage when moments later, what was supposed to be a night of fun, was interrupted by what she says were several explosions.

"We were kind of stuck in the crowd and I would say maybe 60 seconds after the first explosion was the second explosion," she recalled.

Ranzino instantly froze, but knew she had to get to safety. She says she and a friend locked arms and raced for the nearest exit while adrenaline took over. "I yelled at her, 'Hold on to me, do not let go no matter what.' So we put our hips together and we wrapped both arms around each other really tight and was just kind of running with the crowd," said Ranzino.

Her own fear she will eventually get over, but what the 23-year-old says will forever haunt her is that so many children got a front row seat to senseless violence that night.

"They understood that this was terrorism and they understood that this was an attack and you could tell that they knew that bad people were trying to hurt them," Ranzino added.

About 30 minutes after the attack, she made it back in her hotel room and Ranzino says that's when she had to make the hardest phone call of her life.

"It's definitely not the phone call that you want to make," she said.

Peter Ranzino and his wife, thousands of miles away, heard about the attack, but had not heard from their daughter until she was finally able to make the call. "That was a long 30 minute period, you know, of not knowing," he said. "She was the one actually calming us down that night."

He says terrorism has become all too common, but never in a million years was he prepared for his daughter to face it. "For it to actually happen and for her to be involved in it and experience it is terrible," Peter said. "It just resets your whole life."

As of Wednesday night, 16 of the 22 victims tragically killed have been identified. Ranzino says they are names and faces that will now forever be with her. "I will memorize those faces and those names and I will remember those people forever just knowing I was there with them," she added.

Ranzino says she refuses to live in fear and despite the latest attack, she will remain in Europe and finish pursuing her education.

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