Two explosions have just shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line, leaving the streets awash with blood.
Following the two blasts police reportedly found another explosive device and detonated it themselves before it went off.
Competitors and race volunteers were crying as they fled the chaos. Bloody spectators were being carried to the medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners.
On television footage one person said: “Oh my God, they’re dead.” Sky TV reported up to 100 people have been injured, while Fox News said three deaths had been confirmed.
“There are a lot of people down,” said one man, whose bib No. 17528 identified him as Frank Deruyter of North Carolina. He was not injured, but marathon workers were carrying one woman, who did not appear to be a runner, to the medical area as blood gushed from her leg.
A Boston police officer was wheeled from the course with a leg injury that was bleeding.
President Barack Obama had been made aware of the explosions and was monitoring the situation, the White House said.
Neither race officials nor public officials could immediately estimate the number or degree of injuries.
About three hours after the winners crossed the line, there was a loud explosion on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the photo bridge that marks the finish line. Another explosion could be heard a few seconds later.
Smoke rose from the blasts, fluttering through the national flags lining the route of the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon. TV helicopter footage showed blood staining the pavement in the popular shopping and tourist area known as the Back Bay.
“There are people who are really, really bloody,” said Laura McLean, a runner from Toronto, who was in the medical tent being treated for dehydration when she was pulled out to make room for victims of the explosions. “They were pulling them into the medical tent.”
Cherie Falgoust was waiting for her husband, who was running the race.
“I was expecting my husband any minute,” she said. “I don’t know what this building is … it just blew. Just a big bomb, a loud boom, and then glass everywhere. Something hit my head. I don’t know what it was. I just ducked.”
Runners who had not finished the race were diverted straight down Commonwealth Avenue and into a family meeting area, according to an emergency plan that had been in place.
The nearby Prudential Tower, the city’s second-tallest building with a shopping mall on the ground, was evacuated, according to media reports.
The New York Police Department has stepped up security around landmarks in Manhattan, including near prominent hotels, in response to at least one explosion near the finish line of the Boston marathon on Monday, said Paul Browne, deputy commissioner of the NYPD.
Browne told Reuters that New York police were re-deploying counter-terrorism vehicles around the city.
There are reports security levels have been raised in Washington DC as well.
Courtesy Reuters, AP
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