Explosions at the Boston Marathon: three killed including an eight-year-old boy
Two explosions caused devastation at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday.
An explosive device detonated at 14.50 ET (18.50 GMT) with a second detonating just a few seconds later.
The explosions took place in a crowd of spectators, killing three people including an eight-year-old boy, and injuring at least 140, 17 of whom are said to be critically injured.
Witnesses have described a horrifying scene of bloodied victims, some of whom had lost limbs.
Roupen Bastajian, a state police officer who had just completed the marathon said: “There were people all over the floor… At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing.”
Victims were initially treated at a medical tent intended for runners. However, as emergency services arrived many of the injured were taken to local hospitals including the Massachusetts General Hospital, the main entrance of which was guarded by armed police on Monday evening.
At a news conference held a few hours after the explosions, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said that authorities had received “no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen”.
The Police Commissioner went on to advise people to stay indoors and to avoid congregating in large groups. “People should be calm but they should understand this is an ongoing event,” he said.
Speaking at a briefing at the White House, President Obama said: “The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight. Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss.”
The President went on to say: “Make no mistake, we will find out who did this and why they did this, and the groups or individuals responsible will feel the full weight of justice.”
Officials initially avoided using the word “terrorism”. However, at a press conference last night Rick DesLauriers, the FBI special agent who is now in charge of the inquiry, said it was a “criminal investigation and potential terrorism investigation”.
After the explosions Boston was put on high alert and a no-fly zone was imposed over the immediate zone of the blasts with flights into local airports suspended for a short time. Security in other US cities including Washington D.C. and New York was also strengthened.
This year’s Boston marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon, was of special significance as it was being held in commemoration of the Newtown school shooting in December with the last mile dedicated to the victims there.