Maggie: There were thousands of runners who had yet to cross the finish line in the Boston Marathon when suddenly the unthinkable took place. Two powerful explosions, one close to the finish line,…
Boston Marathoner: Something just blew up! Run! Go!
Maggie: …The second just a block away.
Boston Marathoner: It knocked me to the ground. And then, you know, everybody started running.
Onlooker: It looks like a fireball or something, and I just heard the glass shatter.
Maggie: Runners eager to finish the race suddenly encountered badly injured victims and blood everywhere.
Several were killed, including an eight-year-old boy. More than 120 were injured.
The medical tent that had been set up to care for the runners was quickly turned into a triage center to help the dozens badly wounded in the twin blasts.
Onlooker: They responded within 15 seconds. You saw everybody coming down here.
Nurse: I kind of just had to, kind of, collect myself a bit and prepare myself for what I was going to see. And as just a team, we really tried to work together and hold our own so we can take care of the people coming in. And that’s what we did.
Maggie: Hospitals here in Boston quickly went into disaster mode, each facility treating dozens of wounded people. Doctors here are describing the conditions as something you would see in a war zone.
Organizer: Lets go, people! Lets go!
Maggie: The Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and many other federal agencies quickly launched an investigation into the tragedy. Within hours, security in other parts of the country, including Washington, D.C. and in New York City was stepped-up. The NYPD began deploying counter-terrorism vehicles around city landmarks, including hotels.
Hours after the explosions, people here in Boston were told to stay in their homes. At least one additional explosive device was found and disabled after the original blasts. And Boston police were on the lookout for any more bombs.
Governor Deval Patrick: We’re also asking that everyone be on a state of heightened vigilance. That is really required of everyone. Please report suspicious packages or parcels or suspicious activity.
Maggie: The president was notified about the bombings at about three in the afternoon. He then phoned several Massachusetts area officials, offering whatever federal support they need.
President Obama: Make no mistake; we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this. We will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.
Maggie: Twenty-seven thousand runners from all around the world were scheduled to run in yesterday’s race. The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest marathon, dating back to 1897. And this year, the last mile of the marathon had been dedicated to the victims of last December’s Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
In Boston, Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.
- What kinds of security measures do you think were in place at the marathon?
- What makes a marathon finish line a possible terror target?
- What precautions do you take when approaching crowd situations?