Explosions Rock Finish Line at Boston Marathon
Explosions rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, turning the festive scene into one of carnage and chaos. The two blasts killed three people and injured more than 100 in a terrifying scene of shattered glass, bloodstained pavement and severed limbs, authorities said.
Within minutes of the blasts, wheelchairs and stretchers were ferrying victims up and down Boylston Street — home stretch of the oldest marathon race in the world. Amid the chaos, competitors, race volunteers and spectators ran from the scene in shock.
“I run over there and there are body parts, people have been blown apart. Windows all blown out,” one man said.
The attack came about three hours after the winners had crossed the finish line. A loud explosion on the north side of the street went off first, followed by a second blast a few seconds later.
NewsHour production assistant Noreen Nasir was a few blocks away at the time.
“I saw two clouds of smoke go up and heard them,” she said. “It was just a matter of seconds in between the two explosions that happened. And at first, there was also a sense of confusion.”
Nasir tweeted this photo near the Boston Public Library:
NewsHour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan spoke with Nasir shortly after the blasts. Listen to their conversation below:
Twenty seven thousand runners and thousands more spectators had turned out for the marathon and several thousand runners were still on the course at the time. Marathon organizers sent buses to pick them up.
Meanwhile, police said the motive for the bombings remains unclear. They also reported a third explosion — at the John F. Kennedy Library — but it may not be related.
In the wake of the attack, police in London, Washington and New York stepped up security.
President Obama was notified and White House officials said he offered whatever assistance is needed in response and ensuing investigation.
Tune in to Monday evening’s NewsHour broadcast for full analysis, including a discussion with Scott Malone, the Boston correspondent for Reuters. He was covering the marathon when the blasts occurred.
Then, Gwen Ifill hears more about the emergency response from Stephen Murphy, the president of the Boston City Council who was 30 feet from the explosions. The aftermath of the blasts looked like “a large mushroom cloud,” he told the NewsHour earlier this afternoon.
Here are the locations of the two blasts at the finish line:
View Boston Explosions in a larger map
PBS NewsHour will be providing more updates and analysis as the story develops in the Storify blog below:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.