Update: At least two confirmed dead as explosions hit Boston Marathon in US

Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explo

Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) - Credit: AP

TWO people have been killed as two explosions hit the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Two bombs exploded near the finish of the Boston Marathon today, killing two people, injuring 22 others and sending authorities rushing to aid wounded spectators at America’s oldest and most prestigous marathon.

One runner, a Rhode Island state police officer, said he saw at least two dozen people with very serious injuries, including missing limbs.

About two hours after the winners crossed the finish line, there was a loud explosion on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the photo bridge that marks the line. Another explosion could be heard a few seconds later.

The Boston Marathon said that bombs caused the two explosions and that organisers were working with authorities to determine what happened. The Boston Police Department said two people were killed and 23 others injured.


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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. Authorities went onto the course to carry away the injured while stragglers in the 26.2-mile (42-kilometre) race were rerouted away from the smoking site.

Roupen Bastajian, a 35-year-old state trooper from Rhode Island, had just finished the race when they put the heat blanket wrap on him and he heard the first blast.

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“I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor,” he said. “We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated. ... At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing.”

A Boston police officer was wheeled from the course with a leg injury that was bleeding.

“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.

Smoke rose from the blasts, fluttering through the national flags lining the route. 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 White House said President Barack Obama has been notified about the explosions. The administration said it is in contact with state and local authorities and the president directed his administration to provide whatever assistance is necessary in the investigation and response.

Vice President Joe Biden was on a conference call with gun control activists when staffers turned on televisions in his office to view coverage of the explosions. Mr Biden said during the call that his prayers were with those who suffered injuries.

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 an upmarket shopping mall on the ground, was evacuated, with the luxury Mandarin Oriental hotel, according to media reports.

Race day got started with 26 seconds of silence in honor of the victims of the December school shooting in Connecticut. A little more than two hours later, the lead runners passed the Mile 26 marker, which was decorated with the Newtown, Connecticut, seal and dedicated to the memory of those killed there.

The annual marathon takes place on Patriot’s Day, a state holiday that celebrates the evacuation of Boston by the British in the American Revolution.

A Foreign Office spokesman pledged to look into the incident, with the race website listing 374 competitors from the United Kingdom.

“We are aware of the incident and we are trying to gather information,” said a spokesman, while Foreign Secretary William Hague Tweeted to say: “Appalled by news of explosion at Boston marathon. My thoughts are with everyone affected by it and all those waiting for news.”

Stowmarket Striders tweeted to say that one of their runners, Frank Moggan, had finished the race in 3 hours 52 minutes and he and his wife were safely away from the scene when the bombs went off.

The explosions in Boston come six days before the London Marathon.

Nick Bitel, London Marathon chief executive, said: “We are deeply saddened and shocked by the news from Boston. Our immediate thoughts are with the people there and their families. It is a very sad day for athletics and for our friends and colleagues in marathon running.

“Our security plan is developed jointly with the Metropolitan Police and we were in contact with them as soon as we heard the news.”

Met Police Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry said: “A security plan is in place for the London Marathon. We will be reviewing our security arrangements in partnership with London Marathon.”

Do you know anyone involved in the race or at the scene? Call the newsdesk on 01473 324788.

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