Three Dead and 144 Injured in Boston Marathon Bombings

Three Dead and 144 Injured in Boston Marathon Bombings

Police confirmed that at least three people lost their lives in today’s deadly Boston Marathon bomb attack – leaving behind a scene of carnage that brought the specter of terrorism back to American soil.

The FBI, which has taken over the investigation into the outrage which has also injured 144 people – 17 critically –  announced that they were searching for a man they described as having dark skin, wearing black clothes and a black back-pack who tried to gain entry into a restricted area during the marathon.It was also reported that he may have had a foreign accent.

And with the victims reportedly ranging from two-years-old to 63-years-old, hospitals across Boston have said that they were removing ball bearings from a large number of the 144 injured in the co-ordinated and almost simultaneous bomb blasts.Medical officials have said that at least 10 injured people had limbs amputated and several of the patients treated at Massachusetts General Hospital suffered injuries to lower limbs that will require ‘serial operations’ in the coming days, trauma surgeon Peter Fagenholz said on Monday night to CNN.Initially counter-terrorism sources in the city believed that seven devices were planted across the city – but only two detonated.

However, a law-enforcement official said late on Monday evening that investigators now doubt those devices were bombs, but were in fact suspect packages – left behind as runners and pedestrians rushed away from the scene in the aftermath of the blasts.Each device or package was rendered inoperative or was being rendered safe according to officials – who said that the fast moving investigation meant that every suspicious device thought to be a bomb might not be.

A federal law enforcement official told CNN that both bombs which detonated at the Boston finish line were small, and initial tests showed no C-4 or other high-grade explosive was used – indicating they were crude devices.It was this afternoon that at least three people were killed and up to 144 people injured as two bombs exploded almost simultaneously near the finish line of the Boston Marathon today.It was revealed that an eight-year-old boy was one of the two people confirmed dead – after the twin detonations 12 seconds apart ripped through the cheering crowds 50-yards away lining Boston’s streets at around 2.50 p.m

‘It felt like a huge cannon,’ a witness told CNN about one of the blasts.Boston Children’s Hospital received eight patients injured at the explosion at the Boston Marathon. Patients’ conditions ranged from good to serious. There were no patient deaths among the patients brought to Boston Children’s from the scene.Their patients included a 2 year-old-boy with a head injury has been admitted to the Medical/Surgical ICU, a a 9-year-old girl with leg trauma who was sent to the operating room and a 12-year-old boy with a femur fracture.The condition of these children currently is not known.

Witnesses reported scenes of utter ‘pandemonium’ in the seconds after the devices exploded on Boston’s Boylston Street sending thousands of runners and spectators running for cover as emergency workers rushed to aid those hurt. And this evening, it has been reported that a potential suspect in the attacks is being guarded by police in an undisclosed hospital.Several reports now say a suspect is being guarded in a Boston hospital bed. One initial report said he was a Saudi Arabian national.The reports claim the hospitalized suspect was himself injured by shrapnel from the finish line explosions and has severe injuries.

CBS reported that an individual is in custody. He is reportedly cooperative and denies involvement in the attack.Speaking to the nation just after 6.p.m this evening President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will ‘feel the full weight of justice.’He reiterated that many people were injured, ‘some gravely’ and remarked that on days like today, ‘there are no Republicans or Democrats,’ emphasizing that it is crucial not to categorize the bombings as terrorist attacks.The president made clear that ‘We will find out who did this and hold them accountable.’Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis had said at an afternoon press conference that there was a third, uncontrolled explosion at the JFK Library which was believed to be an electrical fire.

However, any link to the earlier bombs at the marathon finish line has been ruled out.Eyewitnesses at the finishing line on Boylston Street said there were two loud explosions about ten seconds apart, and emergency vehicles crowded the scene.Witness Dave Weigel said via Twitter minutes after the explosion: ‘I saw people’s legs blown off. Horrific. Two explosions. Runners were coming in and saw unspeakable horror.’One doctor, Allan Panter, a doctor stood near to the finish line said he was 25-feet away from the first blast when it detonated.

‘I saw at least six to seven people down next to me,’ he said. ‘They protected me from the blast. One lady expired. One gentleman lost both his (lower) limbs. Most of the injuries were lower extremities.’The explosions ripped into an idyllic afternoon finish for the marathon. The first men had passed the finish line 2 hours and 10 minutes after the staggered start, and the first women crossed just 16 minutes later.It appears the bombs were left for the slower, charity runners grappling with a four-hour run time who were converging on the race’s end at 2:50 p.m.Police were keen to underline there had been no arrests but they did say they were talking to suspects.

There was another individual pictured in handcuffs near to the scene but it wasn’t clear whether it was an unrelated arrest or not.The first blast sent a quick plume of smoke two stories high. Runners nearby stopped in their tracks, confused and unsure. After a few seconds later, a second explosion happened a half-block away, with a deep boom caught on television cameras.Emergency personnel rushed to the area, and the street was quickly sealed off.’I saw it go off and smoke billowed up. Everyone just stopped and hunched down,’ said Pam Ledtke, 51, from Indianapolis, who was about 75 yards from the finish line when the explosions went off.

‘They didn’t know what to do,’ Ledtke said.’All of a sudden, people were screaming,’ Ledtke added.Nickilynn Estologa, a nursing student who was volunteering in a block-long medical tent designed to treat fatigued runners, said five to six victims immediately staggered inside. Several were children; one was in his 60s.’Some were bleeding from the head, they had glass shards in their skin,’ she said.’One person had the flesh gone from his leg; it was just hanging there.’ Another woman, she added, was lying on a gurney as emergency personnel raced through the tent, giving her CPR.’I just can’t believe anyone would do something like this,’ Estologa said.

‘I saw two explosions,’ reported Boston Herald journalist Chris Cassidy, who was running in the marathon.’The first one was beyond the finish line. I heard a loud bang and I saw smoke rising.’ The blast ‘looked like it was in a trash can or something,’ he said. ‘There are at least a dozen that seem to be injured in some way.’Police established a crime scene around the Prudential Center, which is near the finish line. The blast apparently occurred about 300 yards from the finish line. A White House official called the explosions an ‘act of terror,’ saying authorities have much to learn about who was behind it.

‘Any event with multiple explosive devices — as this appears to be — is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror,’ the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.’However, we don’t yet know who carried out this attack, and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned and carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic.’Witnesses described a chaotic scene in the immediate aftermath of the blasts.Paul Cummings, a 44-year-old runner from Portland, Oregon, was in the medical tent near the finish line getting a leg massage when the explosions occurred.

‘It didn’t sound like a water main blowing or anything else — it sounded like a bomb,’ Cummings said.’Maybe I watch too much TV or something, but as soon as I heard it, I knew it was a bomb. It was just a loud explosion, and then another. You can’t hear a noise like that and think anything good happened.’Authorities in New York and Washington tightened security precautions in the wake of the blasts.The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent all of its bomb technicians, explosives officers, explosives specialists and canine officers from their Boston and New York field divisions to the scene, as well as some investigators from Washington.

Hours after twin explosions rang out near the city’s Copley Square, President Obama appeared before the nation to tell them, ‘We still don’t know who did this or why they did this,’ vowing that Americans stand by those affected.As police started bringing wounded people into the tent, Cummings quickly got up and left. “I just thought, ‘I’m out of here.’ ”He stepped out into Copley Square to wailing sirens, people shouting and crying and police imploring the crowds to leave the area.Jay Hartford, 46, a nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital, was about 800 yards from the finish when he heard the explosions. He thought they were electrical and kept running.

Then he saw smoke billowing across Boylston Street. Runners started to panic, he said.’Some people hit the ground, in shock’” he said. ‘A woman [runner] was on her knees screaming’ in fear, not injury.Police along the route started pushing barriers across Boylston, to keep runners from approaching the finish line, he said.’Stop, turn back!’ the police shouted to oncoming runners, Hartford said.Hartford became choked up at the enormity of this calamity befalling one of Boston’s most beloved traditions. ‘It was going to be my best marathon, but I feel I’ve got to get to work’ at the hospital, Hartford said.

Boston.com sports producer Steve Silva also was near the finish line when the explosions occurred.’It was just immediately [evident] there were injuries, right in the middle of the spectator crowds,’ Silva said.’There was blood everywhere, there were victims being carried out on stretchers. I saw someone lose their leg. People are crying. People are confused.’The two explosions were about 50 to 100 yards (meters) apart as runners crossed the finish line with a timer showing 4 hours and 9 minutes, some 9 minutes faster than the average finish time, as reported by Runner’s World magazine.Of the 23,326 runners who started the race on Monday, 17,584 finished before the blast, marathon officials said. The runners were diverted before officials brought the marathon to a halt.

Mike Mitchell of Vancouver, Canada, a runner who had finished the race, said he was looking back at the finish line and saw a ‘massive explosion.’Smoke rose 50 feet in the air, Mitchell said. People began running and screaming after hearing the noise, Mitchell said.’Everybody freaked out,’ Mitchell said.’Every asset of the Commonwealth (state) of Massachusetts and the federal government is either here or coming here,’ Governor Deval Patrick told reporters.The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice Department, Homeland Security Department and other agencies were all lending assistance to the investigation, authorities said.

Obama directed his administration to provide whatever assistance was necessary, the White House said. Obama was being briefed by Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco and other staff, the White House said.Spectators typically line the 26.2 mile race course, with the heaviest crowds near the finish line.The transit agency shut down all service to the area, citing police activity, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration temporarily restricted airspace over the scene, a spokesman said.

The Boston Marathon has been held on Patriot’s Day, the third Monday of April, since 1897. The event, which starts in Hopkinton, Massachusetts and ends in Boston’s Copley Square, attracts an estimated half-million spectators and some 20,000 participants every year.The Boston Symphony Orchestra cancelled Monday night’s concert and the National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins canceled their home game against the Ottawa Senators.

CBS News reports that police are now looking at surveillance video showing someone carrying multiple backpacks into the area about 20 minutes before explosions. Additionally, a shadowy figure was captured on CCTV around 20 minutes before the two blasts.One witness said ‘there was blood everywhere.’CNN revealed that families from last December’s Newtown tragedy were at the scene, though none of them were reported injured.Boston’s Lenox Hotel that serves as the headquarters for the Boston Marathon was locked down on Monday after a security incident near the finish line. Two blasts were heard by reporters in the media center. – DailyMail