FORMER World champion boxer Eamonn Loughran has revealed how he prayed for the safe return of his wife after two bombs exploded at the Boston marathon.
He was among a number of runners from Northern Ireland who were taking part in the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Two bombs exploded – one at the finishing line – within seconds of each other around 3pm Boston time.
The no-warning blasts left three people dead, including an eight-year-old boy, 141 injured, 17 critical and 23 seriously injured.
Among the critically and seriously injured were people who lost limbs from the force of the explosions.
The FBI has taken control of the bomb site investigation and US President Barack Obama vowed those behind the indiscriminate bomb blasts would be hunted down and brought to justice.
Ballymena man Loughran revealed how he had arranged to meet his wife Angela at the finish line where one of the bombs detonated.
“We had arranged to meet up by the flags,’’ said Mr Loughran.
“I went back to the hotel and prayed for three hours that she would be safe.
“We both burst out crying when she walked through the door.’’
Close friend of Eamonn Loughran and BBC Radio Ulster football pundit Liam Beckett revealed through Twitter on Monday night that the former world champion boxer was taking part in the marathon.
He tweeted: “Relieved to confirm I have been contacted by a reliable source and told that my dear friend former WBC boxing champion Eamonn Loughran is OK.”
On Tuesday morning he thanked his followers on Twitter for passing on their messages that they hoped the one-time boxer was safe.
“Thanks all who got in touch last night re my concern over my good friend Eamonn Loughran in Boston,I will forward to Eamonn when I see him.”