THE Manchester Area attack "was preventable" but there was a perfect storm of failures, an ex-cop has claimed.
A damning report into the bombing is due to be released today, and is said to highlight the failings of emergency services on that horrific day in May 2017.
The terror attack, which unfolded during an Ariana Grande concert, killed 22 people and injured hundreds.
The youngest victim to lose their life was an eight-year-old girl.
But, it took paramedics 43 minutes to reach the scene and firefighters who were stationed just three miles away did not arrive until after the last seriously injured victim had been rushed to hospital.
Police also had wrongly reported the crime as a marauding gun incident.
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Speaking ahead of today's report being released, retired counter terrorism police inspector Andrea Bradbury said emergency services were "unprepared and totally caught off guard" by the bombing.
Andrea herself was injured when Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a suicide bomb at the end of the concert.
She said she knew it was an explosive device and phoned the on-call counter-terrorism officer.
But the response was filled with delays, miscommunications and inaccurate information that the incident was ongoing.
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Andrea told The Times: "People were left in the time of need.
"It was so wrong, especially when experienced officers who did go in were demanding assistance and firearms teams had secured the building.
"It was horrific, but what has always frustrated and angered me is the fact that it was preventable in the first place — and after it did happen, people were so badly let down by the police and the emergency services."
Ambulance services bosses were said to be concerned about the risk of a secondary explosive device and, as a result, held back support despite armed police establishing that there was no further threat.
This left members of the public having to provide first aid to seriously injured victims.
The report due to be released today is the second the public inquiry's chairman John Saunders has completed on the bombings.
It is expected to make a number of recommendations that will include improved communication, clearer planning and a more efficient system for deciding where emergency services will be sent in the event of a terror attack.
The Telegraph reported it is feared that two of the 22 deaths may have been avoided if emergency services had responded to the incident faster.
The inquiry leading up to the report has heard how a "catastrophic" list of failings led to victims waiting hours for treatment before finally being taken to hospital.
Mr Saunders has previously said there were nine missed opportunities to stop the bombing.
In June last year he ruled that Abedi should have been identified as a threat to security on the night of the attack.
Mr Saunders criticised "serious shortcomings" by stewards for Showsec, particularly after a worried parent drew their attention to the bomber lurking around suspiciously for nearly an hour.
But a poorly-trained security guard did not want to confront him for fear of being called racist.
Mr Saunders also slammed British Transport Police after officers drove five miles for a kebab over a two-hour lunch break, leaving no one on duty in the City Room Foyer on the night of the attack.
He said he considered it was likely the bomber, 22, would still have detonated his device if confronted "but the loss of life and injury is highly likely to have been less".
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He is expected to publish a third report in the new year highlighting intelligence failings.
Meanwhile, more than 150 of the victims and bereaved families are said to also preparing civil claims ahead of the report today.
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