Northern Ireland

Londonderry student 'walked past Manchester explosion scene'

Sarah Harkin
Image caption Sarah Harkin walked past the scene of the explosion moments before it went off

The father of a Londonderry student who works at the Manchester Arena has said she walked past the scene of the explosion moments before it went off.

Hugh Harkin said his daughter Sarah is lucky to be alive.

Mr Harkin and his wife were at home in Derry when his 21-year-old daughter phoned from the arena.

Sarah Harkin had walked through the foyer past parents waiting for their children only seconds before the bomb exploded.

"She had just come out and crossed over the foyer and was just heading out of the building and 30 seconds later she just heard a massive explosion," Mr Harkin said.

"Everybody was running and you could hear from the phone what she was describing - there was pandemonium, you hear people squealing and she was in an awful state.

"We just tried to calm her down and we were telling her 'just keep moving, move away, get as far away from it as you can'."

Image caption Hugh Harkin said his daughter was lucky to be alive

Mr Harkin - who is Kenny Shiels' assistant manager at Derry City - said it was the most distressing night of their lives as their daughter fled to safety.

The family said while they are hugely relieved that their daughter is safe and well, their thoughts are with families who lost loved ones in the attack.

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