'I'm going to die': Woman's panicked call to mum during Sri Lanka bomb blasts

A woman has recalled what she thought would be her final moments alive as bombs exploded across Columbo in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

Sophie Heynes-Bishop, from Adelaide, was eating breakfast at the city’s Cinnamon Grand Hotel when the fifth round of coordinated bombs were detonated.

"I called my mum and I just said, 'I love you and I'm going to die'," Ms Heynes-Bishop told 7 News.

"I was screaming and crying ... there were just people everywhere. I didn't know if there was going to be another bomb, or there was going to be guns.”

Ms Heynes-Bishop was also coming to terms with the possibility her boyfriend had already been killed in the blast as he was still asleep upstairs.

Ms Heynes-Bishop said she called her mother to tell her she loved her, because she thought she was gong to die. Source: 7 News Sydney

She said in the aftermath “there was blood everywhere” as staff members tried to protect her by seating her on a ledge.

“Everything just was silent and then immediately it was just ringing in my ears and everyone was screaming and then a chunk of roof fell on my head,” she said.

The couple, who were on holiday in Sri Lanka at the time, cut their trip short and returned to Australia.

But Ms Heynes-Bishop said they would return to the island country in the future despite the explosions which killed more than 350 people.

Sophie Heynes-Bishop and Patrick Ritchie were in Columbo when the Easter Sunday bombings sent the city into chaos. Source: 7 News Sydney

Deputy defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said in a press conference on Wednesday it was believed the attacks were carried out by nine suicide bombers.

He claimed one of the bombers had completed post graduate studies in Australia.

“We believe one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and later on did his postgraduate (degree) in Australia before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka,” Mr Wijewardene said.

“What we can say is some of the suspected bombers, most of them are well-educated and come from maybe middle or upper middle class so are financially independent and their families are quite stable.

He also confirmed 60 people had been arrested over the attacks, and all were Sri Lankans.

The deputy defence minister said authorities were gathering information from as many sources as possible to help with further investigations.

Mr Wijewardene suggested on Tuesday the bombings were retaliation for the attack on mosques in New Zealand in March.

The couple cut their holiday short and returned to Australia following the blasts, but vowed to return to the island country in the future. Source: Getty Images

"The initial investigation has revealed that this was in retaliation for the New Zealand mosque attack,” he told parliament.

Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the bombings but did not give evidence to back it up.

Two Australians killed in the Sri Lankan bombings were identified as a mother and daughter who had been living in the country for several years.

Manik Suriaaratchi and her daughter Alexendria, 10, were two of the more than 350 killed in the bomb blasts that ripped through three churches, three luxury hotels and a guesthouse on Sunday about 8.45am.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, download the Yahoo News app from iTunes or Google Play and stay up to date with the latest news with Yahoo’s daily newsletter. Sign up here.

newsletter