Boston bombing anniversary: Jeff Bauman speaks out over iconic photo of his rescue

An image showing Mr Bauman's rescue after he was hit by one of the bombs was hailed as one of the strongest pictures of resilience in the face of tragedy

Click to follow
The Independent US

A victim of the Boston bombings has spoken of the moment a photographer apologised for taking his picture, just minutes after the blast from a bomb destroyed his lower right leg and stripped his left to the bone, on the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon tragedy.

The iconic photo, taken by a photographer working for The Associated Press, is perhaps one of the most memorable images from the day Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan are accused of detonating two pressure cooker bombs at the finish line of the annual race, killing three and leaving 264 injured.

Memorial services will be held throughout today to mark the deadly bombing, with US Vice-President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick expected to attend a tribute at the Hynes Convention Center at noon (4pm GMT).

The photo was also shrouded in controversy because of its graphic nature; in it Jeff Bauman can be seen in a wheelchair with Carlos Arredondo at his side, the man in the cowboy hat who was credited with saving his life.

Paul Mitchell, left, bystander Carlos Arredondo, in cowboy hat, and Boston University student Devin Wang push Jeff Bauman in a wheelchair after he was injured in one of two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Bystander Mr Arrendo had seen Mr Bauman lying on the floor when he picked him up, put him in a wheelchair and ran for help.

His ashen face is visibly in shock and his leg is missing below the knee.  Along with Mr Arredondo, two other people can also be seen in the photo rushing him to help moments after the brutal attack.

Mr Bauman said he has only looked at the picture once, which immediately went viral, a week after the bombing.

“Part of me, I guess, wishes the picture had never been taken at all. I wish my mom hadn't seen me that way, because she couldn't find me for hours afterward, and that was cruel. But I'm not angry about it,” the 28-year-old told The Guardian.

Mr Baumen said he met the photographer, Charlie Krupa, for the first time shortly afterwards for a photoshoot. “The first thing he said to me was, 'I’m sorry.'

“That surprised me. I didn't think he'd feel any guilt or regret, because he hadn't done anything wrong. He was doing his job that day, and he was doing it well. People still write me to say how much the photo meant to them.

“I told Charlie that I understand now, like I didn't then, that he was helping us that day, in the best way he knew how. He was documenting what happened.

"The photograph isn't what most people think it is. It's not a picture of the bombing. It doesn't show the explosion, and it doesn't show me being injured. It is a photograph of the rescue."

Mr Bauman has since published a book about his experiences, Stronger, and is expecting his first child within his partner Erin Hurley.

Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be tried in November after pleading not guilty to 30 charges.

Prosecutors allege that the 20-year-old Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, planted two homemade pressure cooker bombs near the Boston marathon's finish line last April. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a shootout with police.

Seventeen of the charges he faces carry possibility of the death penalty.