Former SFA student living in England shares experience from Manchester bombing

Former SFA student living in England shares experience from Manchester bombing

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - George Phipps said the images of what happened in Manchester will never leave his mind.

Phipps is a native of the United Kingdom and a former Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjack. He traveled to East Texas in a study abroad program with The University of Chester. Phipps was driving home from work and was just miles away from the Manchester Arena when a bomb exploded and killed 22 people.

"I was on my way home, and my friend called me through Bluetooth, and he was like, 'George have you seen what happened in Manchester?''

Phipps said. "I was like, 'Noo what's happened?' I'm driving through there right now', and you can bloody hear the sirens.' He was like there has been a bomb at the Manchester Arena.'"

Phipps said after the call, countless emergency vehicles went by him, and he knew he needed to get home to see the full scope of what was happening.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," Phipps said. "Especially when it is so close to where you live. You don't expect it to happen. I know we have to expect these things to happen with the terror attacks everywhere else."

As investigators continue to learn more about the bomber, Salman Abedi, Phipps admitted it has caused concern for the people of Manchester.

The attack left at least 22 dead, including an 8-year-old girl, and they were the latest apparent victims of Islamic extremists seeking to rattle life in the West.

"We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage," said British Prime Minister Theresa May.

May said Britain's terror threat level has been raised to critical. The status means armed soldiers could be deployed instead of police at public events including sports matches.

"I try not to let throw me off from doing anything," Phipps said. "It does make me a little more wary."

However, in the days that have followed with concern of another attack, the former SFA Lumberjack said the people of Manchester have shown not a spirit of fear but a spirit of hope.

"The thing with Manchester is the spirit; the deep spirit is sort of amazing," Phipps said. "Everyone coming together and helping out. I think what people are trying to do is get on with things and just try not to let it scare them."

Below is a clip of the full interview with Phipps:

Copyright 2017 KTRE. All rights reserved.