Laura found in hospi­tal but Eilidh still miss­ing

The Oban Times - - Lochaber Times & Oban Times - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

TRIBUTES from across the world are flood­ing in for two teenagers and their com­mu­nity who have been caught up in the Manch­ester Arena bomb­ing.

Laura MacIn­tyre, 15, and Eilidh Ma­cLeod, 14, were re­ported miss­ing shortly af­ter the bomb went off at 10.35pm on Mon­day.

Laura’s dad Micheal MacIn­tyre put out a heart­break­ing mes­sage on so­cial me­dia look­ing for sup­port in find­ing the two young girls. The mes­sage was shared more than 30,000 times from var­i­ous sites. An­other, from Eilidh’s aunt, was also shared thou­sands of times.

Laura was even­tu­ally found af­ter a des­per­ate search.

At the time of go­ing to press, Eilidh had still not been found.

The girls at­tended Castle­bay Com­mu­nity School. A a spokesman for the school said: ‘We are closely mon­i­tor­ing events around Eilidh and Laura. Our thoughts are with the fam­i­lies of the two girls. We are mind­ful of the im­pact on pupils and staff at the school and are pro­vid­ing all nec­es­sary sup­port.’

There were 22 peo­ple killed in the at­tack, in­clud­ing chil­dren, and 60 peo­ple in­jured.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May con­demned the ‘soft tar­get’ at­tack on chil­dren, con­firm­ing it was one of the worst ter­ror­ism at­tacks on UK soil.

Mrs May vis­ited hos­pi­tals in Manch­ester on Tuesday af­ter­noon.

Laura and Eilidh were on a ‘trip of a life­time’ to see the su­per­star singer Ari­ana Grande, with tick­ets pur­chased as a spe­cial treat for Eilidh’s birth­day.

It is un­der­stood that Laura’s mum was on the trip with the girls, and had re­ceived a text shortly be­fore the last song – and mo­ments be­fore a sui­cide bomber det­o­nated what po­lice said was a ‘home-made’ im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice.

Wit­nesses said there were nuts and bolts packed into the bomb, with many vic­tims suf­fer­ing shrap­nel in­juries as a re­sult.

Tur­moil in the af­ter­math of the event meant that it was not dis­cov­ered that Laura was in hospi­tal un­til late af­ter­noon on Tuesday. By that time, it is un­der­stood the fam­i­lies of both girls had made their way to Manch­ester.

Laura’s in­juries are be­ing de­scribed as sig­nif­i­cant and she re­mains in in­ten­sive care at the time of go­ing to press.

The Queen and Duke of Ed­in­burgh led a tribute at Buck­ing­ham Palace on Tuesday and is­sued a state­ment.

It read: ‘The whole na­tion has been shocked by the death and in­jury in Manch­ester last night of so many peo­ple, adults and chil­dren, who had just been en­joy­ing a con­cert.

‘I know I speak for ev­ery­one in ex­press­ing my deep­est sym­pa­thy to all who have been af­fected by this dread­ful event and es­pe­cially to the fam­i­lies and friends of those who have died or were in­jured.

‘I want to thank all the mem­bers of the emer­gency ser­vices, who have re­sponded with such pro­fes­sion­al­ism and care. And I would like to ex­press my ad­mi­ra­tion for the way the peo­ple of Manch­ester have re­sponded, with hu­man­ity and com­pas­sion, to this act of bar­bar­ity.’

First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon led a minute’s si­lence in Holyrood on Tuesday morn­ing, be­fore in­di­cat­ing that fam­ily li­ai­son of­fi­cers were work­ing with the fam­i­lies of both Laura and Eilidh.

The Vat­i­can sent a tele­gram to say Pope Fran­cis was ‘deeply sad­dened’ by the at­tack.

‘His Ho­li­ness Pope Fran­cis was deeply sad­dened to learn of the in­jury and tragic loss of life caused by the bar­baric at­tack in Manch­ester,’ the tele­gram said.

The so- called Is­lamic State (IS) has claimed it was be­hind the at­tack, but this has not been ver­i­fied by intelligence of­fi­cers. The state­ment was made via IS chan­nels on the mes­sag­ing app Tele­gram. The group fre­quently claims at­tacks in their af­ter­math.

Tributes from across the world are help­ing the com­mu­nity of Barra.

Politi­cian An­gus Bren­dan MacNeil, from Barra, who is well-known to both fam­i­lies, said the care and com­pas­sion from all over the world was help­ing a ‘com­mu­nity in dire pain’.

Mr MacNeil con­tin­ued: ‘Ev­ery­body is up­set and in shock over the hor­rific events in Manch­ester. Peo­ple want to know what is hap­pen­ing, as it is quite un­be­liev­able.

‘It can­not be mea­sured but the way in which Barra peo­ple and its friends from through­out the world have sent their prayers and hope for our girls has been com­fort­ing and grace­ful.

‘Peo­ple must con­tinue to hope and pray for the whole com­mu­nity.’

Tributes are placed in Manch­ester where, inset, Barra girls Laura MacIn­tyre, 15, left, and Eilidh Ma­cLeod, 14, were at­tend­ing the con­cert as part of Eilidh’s birth­day treat. It was Laura’s first ma­jor con­cert.

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