It started out as a carefree trip to Manchester to take her daughter to a concert which was booked as a Christmas present.
But when Susan Main and 13-year-old daughter Rachel returned home to Aberdeen yesterday, they were still in shock from the terrifying scenes they witnessed the night before.
The pair were making their way out of the arena when they heard a loud bang.
Ms Main, 42, said: “It was like a massive set of chairs had dropped – that’s what it sounded like. Then everybody froze – it was like everything went into slow motion – but then it the whole crowd in front of us parted and people started running.
“There was a whole ripple effect of panic through the stadium.
“People were screaming – if you didn’t run you would have been trampled on. It was chaos – folk were losing shoes, phones – they were climbing over chairs.”
Outside, Ms Main could see the crowd was made up of teenagers, young children and their parents, with many “screaming and crying”.
In Kemnay, Michelle Morrison was awoken by a frantic phone call from her daughters Allana, 20, and Justine, 22, who had travelled to Manchester for the concert on their own.
She broke down at the airport when they returned yesterday, and said: “It’s just horrific – I really feel for the people who have lost loved ones.
“My girls have come home safe and other peoples have not – they’re so young – it’s so bad.
“It was a real shock when you are half asleep at 11pm when the phone rings.
“Justine started crying so I couldn’t hear her, then Alana came on the phone and I didn’t know it was her but she kept saying ‘there’s been a bomb in the concert – there’s been a bomb in the concert’.
“I couldn’t quite work out what she was speaking about but then she said there had been an explosion in the concert and they couldn’t get out. She said they were crushed, but were safe and were back in the hotel.”
Allana yesterday admitted she “wanted” the bang to be a balloon, but knew it wasn’t as it “shook the place”.
“Everyone was rushing so you had to be careful that you weren’t trampled or crushed because everyone was desperate to get out,” she said.
“You could smell the smoke from the bomb which made it real – it was horrific.
“There were phones – jumpers – people on the floor after it happened and it was horrible but we just wanted to get out.”