We are still shook up from the Boston Marathon tragedy
Though most of us relied on news and second hand accounts of t he incident, many were there to witness the mayhem first hand. Here are a few accounts:
99trumpets shared the experience via Reddit:
“It had been such a happy day. I was holding two Gatorades out to runners looking right at the finish line, Suddenly a big BOOM, absolutely thunderous. I was looking right at it, huge plume of smoke that went halfway up the church, we all just stared, all the runners turned and stared…To give you the picture I was at the point where everybody has just stopped running and is savoring victory and EVERYBODY STARTED RUNNING AGAIN - something about this scene was absolutely surreal, to see all those exhausted runners who looked like they could barely walk, just all spring back into action simultaneously like that.”
“The crowd is watching us desperately hurling the waters to the side of the street and then the whole crowd starts LEAPING over the security dividers and helping us haul all the waters and tables out of the way. (edit: Guys were hurling those cartons of Poland Spring water bottles like big footballs!) I didn't start to cry till right then when everybody jumped to help.
This is such a powerful and emotional image.”
Abi Griffiths a34-year-old British runner crossed the finishing line around 10 minutes before the blast and was collecting her bag when explosions rocked Boston.
“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."
Steve Silva from Boston Globe:
"Blood everywhere, victims carried out on stretchers. I saw someone lose their leg, people are crying."
Laura McFarlanefrom Australia:
"People were all turning to each other saying 'what the hell was that'. We knew something really bad had happened. We were being ushered away from the scene by police. On our way to the hotel a woman who was a VIP looked visibly shaken and said there were bodies everywhere and people were injured ... she was a mess. The resonance and the feeling beneath your feet was enough to know it was a massive explosion."
Mark Hagopian, owner of the Charlesmark Hotel sought shelter in the basement of a restaurant. He told his side of the events:
"We saw people with their legs blown off. A person next to me had his legs blown off at the knee - he was still alive. It was bad, it was fast. There was a gigantic explosion. We felt wind on our faces. Police were saying: 'Get out, get out, leave, leave there may be more bombs'."
Fatma Tanis told the BBC she saw a "fireball" coming out of the air.
"People were panicked. A lot of people were crying, they were looking for the runners that they were waiting to come in through the finish line as well as family. That's when I thought it had become really serious because a lot of people started running away from the scene and they were crying and had cuts on their faces."
43-year-old Army veteran Thom Kennedy had just crossed the finish line when the first blast occurred. "I was about 50 feet away. I had just crossed the finish line. We were entering the recovery area when the first explosion went off. There were probably three or four people around me. We were all crouching down. Most of the people were looking back at the first explosion, wondering what it was, when the second explosion went off. When that went off, we all started calling our families as fast as we could. â?¦ It wasn't pandemonium yet because I don't think people really realised what was going on. â?¦ We heard the noise. We felt a little bit of the percussion wave. It sounded like an IED. That was the first reaction that I had..."
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.
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.”
Ramsey Mohsen a digital strategist from Kansas City, was in Boston watching his girlfriend, Ali Hatfield, compete in the race. He told the BBC, "The explosion utterly shook my body, I could feel it in my heart."
"Out of nowhere there were two loud explosions. Everyone had gone from happy and smiling and full of excitement from running the race to complete silence.
"People didn't know how to react."
"Seeing a huge group of people with a panicked look on their face was so scary," she wrote.
"I keep thinking about the what-ifs. What if we had not finished when we did? What if we were not with our families when the explosions went off? What if, what if, what if."
Indeed, this has been a day not many would easily forget!