Boston Marathon Blasts
Boston Marathon blasts: Tears tell the story
They walked the streets, many in stunned silence and looking confused, wearing their bibs from the 117th running of the Boston Marathon.
Two deadly explosions at the finish line of one of the most historic road races shook this city and sent shivers across the world and a country into hysteria as many were left with one question: Why?
The area around the finish line of the 26-mile race on Boylston Street was evacuated after the blasts, which created a fireball and smoke that billowed 50 feet into the air from behind spectators and a row of flags, killed three people and injured more than 100, some of whom had limbs amputated. Foreign Affairs officials said late Monday they were not aware of any Canadians among the dead or injured.
The city was soon in complete shutdown mode with the subways idled, cabs scarce, cellular service spotty at best and air space restricted.While it was initially believed two people had been killed, Boston police on Monday night announced that the death toll was three and the Boston Globe reported an 8-year-old boy was one of the dead.
All that could be heard on the blood-stained streets resembling a war zone were sirens everywhere as sidewalks filled with panicked, screaming pedestrians.
Many compared it to Sept. 11 in New York City and the best way to describe the mood is fear.
The White House is treating it as "an act or terror" but has yet to determine who is responsible.
“It is a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation,” FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers said Monday night, while declining to elaborate on initial findings.
“This,” said one woman walking down State Street as the afternoon sun set, “is scary.”
At night, as the streets grew dark, the city was eerily quiet. Police told people to stay in their homes and all that was left in the aftermath of the explosions was strewn paper.
Yes, it was scary in many ways. More than 27,000 runners took part in the race, many living a lifelong dream, only to have it and those who lost their lives or were hurt shattered by the explosions around 2 p.m. EST.
A Rhode Island state trooper told The New York Times body parts littered the scene.
“These runners just finished and they don’t have legs now,” Roupen Bastajian said. “So many of them. There are so many people without legs. It’s all blood. There’s blood everywhere. You got bones, fragments. It’s disgusting. It’s like a war zone.”
The Boston Athletic Association, in a statement Monday night, called it "a sad day for the City of Boston, for the running community...
"What was intended to be a day of joy ...and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance," the association said.
“I was just finishing. I finished in about 3:55 but I was still standing there because I was talking to my husband on the phone,” said a tearful Julie Windham of Irvine, Calif., covered with a blanket. “Usually I run slower or I would have been right there when they went off.
"This is a big event. To have people get hurt from just sitting there watching. I could have been right there when the bombs went off."
When they exploded, they just evacuated the area right away. They just told everybody you’ve got to keep walking. Everybody just started running. It was chaos.”
People describe the scene as total bedlam after the explosions. Thousands of fans lining the streets to support the runners headed for cover. They didn’t know where to go, they just wanted to find somewhere safe.
The area around the scene was kept secure and it was difficult to get close. People trying to get to their homes in the suburbs weren’t able to because no subways were running. Getting around was impossible.
“I just came through the finish line and I heard the explosion,” said Ladd Clifford of Ohio. “I was looking for (his friend) in the medical tent. I turned around after the two explosions and saw the two mushroom clouds.
"You could see it right at the finish line. It was really scary. The sound was pretty loud. I finished about 10 minutes before. They immediately closed the course and then moved everybody out of the area. It was a scary situation.”
Beth Bugner, who was with Clifford and considering renting a car to try to get home, was in the tent.
“I heard it in the medical tent,” she said. “It was horrible. They just made sure they moved everybody out as fast as they could. This was my first time. I’ll be back next year.”
Many hotels around the area went into lockdown and at least one was evacuated. Reports from the scene indicated the media tent shook and many described blood “being everywhere” as victims were taken to hospitals.
Some didn’t get to the finish line. They were still on the course. The race was shut down as the Boston Police launched a full investigation. Hotels filled up quickly as people tried to find a place to stay for the night.
“The race doesn’t matter. The most important thing is the people who were hurt or killed,” said Steve MacLelland of Lincoln, Mass. “This is my eighth Boston Marathon and this is not as important as people's lives.
“You want people to be safe and it’s a cowardly thing to go after innocent people from all around the world who are just here to enjoy themselves.”
The tears that flowed in this city told the story.
“I just can’t believe people were hurt,” said Irvine as she walked way.
Neither could the rest of the world.
-- with files from Reuters
Team Sun is in Boston to bring you the latest on the bombings. Follow updates from Bruce Garrioch, Joe Warmington, Chris Doucette and Simon Kent:
Investigators search for evidence on the rooftop of a building located above the site of a bomb blast on Boylston Street two-days after multiple explosions at the Boston Marathon killed three and injured 176 in Boston, Massachusetts April 17, 2013. Investigators believe they have identified a suspect in the Boston marathon bombing from security video, a U.S. law enforcement source said. REUTERS/Adrees Latif