Boston Marathon explosions: eyewitness reports


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The Independent US

A British runner caught up in the Boston Marathon explosions has described her terror as the “ground shook” around her.

Abi Griffiths, from London, crossed the finishing line around 10 minutes before the blast and was collecting her bag when explosions rocked Boston.

The 34-year-old told Sky News: “People kind of didn't know what to do. Then all of a sudden it went into a state of chaos.

"Police were everywhere, we were being evacuated out of the area and it was really eerie.

"It was very, very scary and what should be a major celebration of the achievement of running 26.2 miles suddenly became a frightening scene."

She said it felt like the blast may have come from “inside of a shop”.

Mike Mitchell had completed the Boston Marathon and was looking back at the finish line when he saw what he described as “a massive explosion,” with a plume of smoke rising 50 feet in the air.“Everybody freaked out,” the runner from Vancouver in Canada told Reuters soon after two explosions struck the city today.

Like Mr Mitchell, Robert Rapoport had also crossed the finish line. The radiologist from Delmar, New York, was getting a bottle of water about 50 yards away when the first explosion occurred. “We heard a boom, a loud explosion,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

Chris Cassidy, who was also taking part in the race, said that one explosion took place ahead of the finish line and the other was located somewhere beyond it. “I kept running and I heard behind me a loud bang. It looked like it was in a trash can or something,” Mr Cassidy told the Boston Herald.

Brian Walker, another eyewitness, described the scene in the immediate aftermath of the explosions as “horrific.” “I saw some horrific wounds,” he told the Herald. Spectator John Ross told the paper how “somebody’s leg flew by my head.” “I gave my belt to stop the blood,” he said.

Meanwhile, Laura McLean was in the medical tent being treated for dehydration when she was moved out to make space for victims of the explosions. “There [were] people who are really, really bloody. They were pulling them into the medical tent,” she told the Associated Press (AP)

Earlier, as the first explosion occurred, Susan Markow was standing with a friend in front of Whiskey’s, a local bar, waiting for her son Daniel to cross the finish line. “Everything was fine. Then all of a sudden, we just heard one explosion, huge,” she told the Herald.

Given the size of the event, which attracts an estimated half a million spectators, a number of media outlets were on the ground. Rachel Fox, a Boston Herald reporter who was interviewing people at the finish line, thought the first blast was some kind of celebratory bang.

“I hear the bang. I thought it was a celebratory thing. Then I saw the smoke. All in one, the ground started shaking, and it was completely quiet for a couple of seconds. The first bang was followed by a second bang. My first thought was run... I knew something wasn’t right,” she was quoted as saying by her paper.

“People were screaming and crying. I saw people fall to the ground. I wasn’t sure if it was runners falling from exhaustion or injuries.”