Manchester attack: 'Unbearable' wait for daughter

Sean and Niamh Woods Image copyright Niamh Woods
Image caption 19-year-old Niamh Woods works at the Manchester Arena

A Londonderry man has described his "unbearable" wait to hear from his daughter after an explosion at a Manchester Arena pop concert.

Sean Woods' 19-year-old daughter, Niamh, was working at the venue when the explosion happened at at the end of a concert by US singer Ariana Grande.

Twenty-two people, including children, have been killed and 59 injured in what police believe was a suicide attack.

Thousands of relatives turned to social media for news on missing loved ones.

"I was bawling like a child," said Sean Woods. "For the first time in my life I couldn't make any sense."

The explosion happened in the foyer of the arena shortly after Ariana Grande left the stage.

"[Staff] were in a locked room because they were doing the takings from the bar," Mr Woods told BBC Radio Foyle.

"This room had two double glass doors and when the explosion went off she said: 'Daddy, I never heard anything as loud in my whole life.'"

'Unbelievable relief'

Seconds after the blast, Niamh Woods told her father people were "frantically banging" on the door to try and get away from the scene of the explosion.

Image copyright Niamh Woods
Image caption Niamh Woods' family are trying to get her on a flight home

"People that were running past had blood running down their faces and, she said, their clothes drenched in blood," said Mr Woods.

"Thank god she got in touch with us through her friend's phone on messenger and it was an unbelievable relief to hear her voice.

"I'm getting her a flight today. She's so badly shook up. We were up all night and we haven't slept.

"I just kept crying and crying and crying... I couldn't even speak properly, it was unbearable.

Image copyright Goodman/LNP/REX/Shutterstock
Image caption The wounded are now being treated at eight hospitals around the city

"My heart really truly goes out to every single person who has lost in that, because the prospect of losing your own daughter in it is quite something.

"I have never had that emotion in my life before and I never, ever, want to have it again," he added.

The authorities have set up an emergency number for those concerned about friends and relatives on 0161 8569400.

A book of condolence for the victims of the Manchester attack has been opened at Belfast City Hall, where a vigil is being held at 18:00 BST on Tuesday.

More on this story