Laura found in hospital but Eilidh still missing
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.