Two Barra schoolgirls sent a message to one their parents just moments before a suicide bomb exploded at a pop concert they were attending in Manchester.
Laura MacIntyre and Eilidh MacLeod, aged 15 and 14, were reported missing just hours after sending a text to say American singer Ariana Grande was performing her final song at the Manchester Arena.
Laura was finally found with serious injuries at a hospital late last night but Eilidh remains missing, along with scores of other youngsters from the event.
The girls’ families launched an emotional plea yesterday for the girls to be found after Moira, the mother of schoolgirl Eilidh, spent Monday night in city hospitals desperately trying to find out the whereabouts of her daughter and friend.
Police say a lone male suspect carrying an improvised explosive device was responsible for the attack, leaving at least 22 people dead and a further 59 injured.
Laura’s father, Michael, who last night traveled to Manchester, said the gig was his daughter’s first ever concert.
“It was Eilidh’s birthday present and the two of them are big fans of Ariana Grande,” he said.
“Laura was so happy to be going down there with her friend.
“It was Laura’s first concert. I was a bit hesitant about her going to a concert so far away but she seemed so happy.”
Local MP Angus MacNeil, who has spearheaded an online campaign to raise awareness of the search for the girls, said he had been in constant contact with the girls’ families and was looking to help in any way he can.
“I’ve just been speaking to them,” he said.
“Laura is a close friend of my daughter so it has been very difficult. I know both families well and have been praying for a good outcome.”
He said the island community had been left in shock by the news, adding: “Our prayers and thoughts go out to the families and all other affected by this awful tragedy.”
Western Isles Council – Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – said it shared the concerns of the girls’ families.
A spokesperson for the comhairle said: “We are closely monitoring events around Eilidh and Laura.
“Our thoughts are with the families of the two girls.”
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said:”Police Scotland received a report of concern for two teenagers from Barra who have not been heard from following their attendance at the concert last night.
“Officers are assisting with enquiries.”
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of Greater Manchester Police, said at a press conference that an emergency number has been set up for those worried about loved ones: 0161 856 9400.