MSNBC Analyst: Explosion Sound Could Be 'Gas-Filled Balloon'

Early Monday evening as details of a loud explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester England were first rolling in, something obviously very wrong as MSNBC’s chyron was reporting “at least 20 dead.” But for the network’s Law Enforcement Analyst Jim Cavanaugh on Hardball, the terrifying noise could have been anything, including a very loud balloon popping as he told host Chris Matthews.

Shortly before Matthews brought Cavanaugh on the program, he played video from the dash cam of a vehicle outside of the Manchester arena that caught the sound of the blast. The sound was very deep and rumbled for a time, the owner of the vehicle could also be heard saying “no” in response to the sound. Along with the sound, a very bright orange flash can be seen on the left side of the image through a sunroof. 

Cavanaugh, having listened to the video, thought that it could possibly have been a balloon or something else:

The police have not told us the cause of this loud explosion. There was some reports of smoke, but we could have people injured in an accidental explosion, some kind of event in there with equipment, loud noise, you know, sometimes these concerts use fireworks, so there's reports that there's large gas filled balloons there.

Afterward, he explained that “When you played that on the video, the sound of the explosion, one thing you've got to remember, the stadium is like a bowl and an explosion it's down in the center of that bowl is going to echo and reverberate throughout that bowl where the people are.”

“It's going to sound very loud, whether it's a bomb or not. And that could cause a panic and, you know, a stampede and trampling injuries and even multiple deaths,” he added. “Still could be a bomb. We don't know. Could be a terrorist bomb. These venues are targets, Chris as we all know.”

Despite the fact that the video was shot outside of the venue, he doubled down on his balloon theory along with other explanations, saying:

But the jury is not in yet, just staying with the facts this could be an accidental explosion of equipment, it could be a gas-filled balloon, it could be a loud noise, people reacting; the deaths could be from a stampede. When we go to these bombings, we had a lot of cases where we heard it was a bombing and we got there and it was an accidental explosion. Or people report explosions during fires and is the roof falling down.

Cavanaugh appeared again on MSNBC during the eight o'clock hour. It was then he admitted that the explosion sound was clearly a terrorist attack. 

As of the writing of this blog, the explosion is thought to have been a suicide bomber, with 19 killed and 59 injured. 

Transcript below:

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MSNBC
Hardball
May 22, 2017
7:20:41 PM Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Look, multiple senior law enforcement officials are telling NBC News right now that the preliminary report from the authorities at the arena in Manchester indicate that at least 20 people are dead already and hundreds are injured already, and those listings usually grow as the night goes on in cases like this. We're following reports from both of those-- NBC law enforcement analyst, Jim Cavanaugh joins us. And Jim, what do you make of this from the beginning here. We're right at the beginning of this story.

JIM CAVANAUGH: Well, Chris, you know, you're reporting exactly right Kelly's reports have been spot on. The police have not told us the cause of this loud explosion. There was some reports of smoke, but we could have people injured in an accidental explosion, some kind of event in there with equipment, loud noise, you know, sometimes these concerts use fireworks, so there's reports that there's large gas filled balloons there.

When you played that on the video, the sound of the explosion, one thing you've got to remember, the stadium is like a bowl and an explosion it's down in the center of that bowl is going to echo and reverberate throughout that bowl where the people are. It's going to sound very loud, whether it's a bomb or not. And that could cause a panic and, you know, a stampede and trampling injuries and even multiple deaths. Still could be a bomb. We don't know. Could be a terrorist bomb. These venues are targets, Chris as we all know.

But the jury is not in yet, just staying with the facts this could be accidental explosion of equipment, it could be glass filled balloon, it could be a loud noise, people reacting; the deaths could be from stampede. The police have got to get in. When we go to these bombings, we had a lot of cases where we heard it was a bombing and we got there and it was an accidental explosion. Or people report explosions during fires and is the roof falling down.

So these noises are loud, you don’t know exactly what they are. Once the injuries are more detailed, the police are in at the scene of the explosion. They ought to be able to determine quickly the cause of the blast and it can work back from there.

 

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