Two huge explosions rocked the Boston Marathon finish line at Copley Square just before 3 p.m. today, apparently causing numerous casualties, some possible with traumatic injuries on streets crowded with runners, spectators and post-race partiers, while a top city official said police were finding “more devices.”
City Council President Steve Murphy, who was at the finish line when the two explosions happened, said, “Police sources say they are finding more devices.”
Herald reporter Chris Cassidy, who was running in the marathon, said, “I saw two explosions. The first one was beyond the finish line. I heard a loud bang and I saw smoke rising. I kept running and I heard behind me a loud bang. It looked like it was in a trash can or something. That one was in front of Abe and Louie’s. There are people who have been hit with debris, people with bloody foreheads.”
“Somebody’s leg flew by my head, said a spectator who gave his name as John Ross. “I gave my belt to stop the blood.”
People were yelling, “I need my kids!”
“It was horrific!” said a man who gave his name as Brian Walker. “I saw some horrific wounds. You could literally feel the rush of wind.”
“There are at least a dozen that seem to be injured in some way,” Cassidy said.
Chris McIntosh, publisher of the Boston Business Journal who was at the Lenox Hotel near the scene, said, “It’s chaos down here. Two bombs just went off at the finish line within five seconds of each other. There must be casualties. Now I’m seeing fire trucks and ambulances racing down Boylston Street toward the scene.”
David O’Neil of Westboro said he saw glass blown out of a restaurant window on Boylston Street.
“Just a really loud explosion, glass and smoke everywhere. We just ran,” O’Neil said. He said he found what appeared to be a shotgun pellet in his coat pocket seconds later.
Stunned and crying people could be seen walking away from the scene down Beacon Street.
Susan Markow was standing with a friend in front of the bar Whiskey’s.
“Everything was fine. The all of a sudden, we just heard one explosion, huge. Not seconds later, another one. Everything stopped,” Markow said. She was waiting for her son Daniel to cross the finish line and was still looking for him when she spoke to the Herald.
Her daughter Lindsey was at the finish line, and sent a rushed text, “MOM call MS.”
Markow said she was “terrified. Awful. It’s not good, not good.”
She described a scene of panic but she said calm took over a minute later and people were orderly was they left the area.
At the Marathon finish line, City Council president Murphy said he was “30 to 40 feet” from the two explosions.
“I heard an explosion and then another one 15 seconds later,” Murphy told the Herald. The councilor said he saw people injured and several people being taken out in ambulances.
“I saw a guy coming towards me with blood on his face” a shaken Murphy said.
Rachel Fox, Herald reporter who was interviewing people at the finish line several hundred feet from the blasts. “I heard 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.”
A runner in his mid-30s who said he was an Army veteran from Maryland said, “I’ve lived through Afghanistan five times and Iraq twice. I can’t believe it happened here.”
“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,” Fox said.
MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said subway service has been suspended on the Green Line between Kenmore and the Park Street stations. Runners were being told to move on to the Boston Common. People were being instructed to turn off their cell phones as multiple calls began jamming cell phone service. The Prudential Center was evacuated.
Athletic shoemaker New Balance was in the midst of hosting its marathon viewing party at the Solas Irish pub at the race’s finish line in the base of the Lenox Hotel on Boylston Street, when the explosion occurred across the street.
“Everyone here is okay,” spokeswoman Mary Lawton said in text messages sent from Solas. “The building shook, but the hotel staff made people stay inside, and we are all safe. You can smell smoke, and people are now getting carted off. It’s bad. It was right next to the finish line.”
Laurel J. Sweet, Dave Wedge and Donna Goodison contributed.