The excitement and anticipation radiating at the Boston Marathon finish line was shattered by two powerful bomb explosions that were detonated within seconds of each other. The blasts killed three people, including an 8 year-old boy, and have left more than 150 people injured, many of the victims suffering from traumatic amputations and head trauma.
The first blast occurred at 2:50 p.m., approximately two hours after the first runners had crossed the finish line. The second explosion went off twelve seconds later and approximately 100 yards away from the first. The timing of the blasts, in the fourth hour of the race, is typically when the finish line is at its most crowded, with many of the competing recreational runners finishing the race, to the cheers of family and friends who gather in that area to greet them.
Witnesses recounted panic and confusion after the first explosion went off. But within moments, emergency responders, including police officers and firefighters, began tearing down temporary metal fencing to get to the victims, as broken glass from building windows showered onto the street. The medical tent set up for exhausted and dehydrated runners quickly became a triage tent for the dozens of critically injured victims.
The FBI is heading the investigation, along with the Massachusetts State Police, and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. As of this posting, no one had claimed responsibility for the bombings. However, news media is reporting that a Saudi national, in the country on a student visa, is being questioned. The man was observed running away from the area after the blasts and was tackled by a bystander. The man is currently hospitalized with burn injuries. FBI and Homeland Security agents searched the man’s apartment, located just outside of Boston, in the suburb of Revere. Agents removed brown papers bags, trash bags and a duffel bag, as well as other items.
The AP is quoting a law enforcement official source who said that the bombs were made by putting explosives in a metal pressure cooker, also filled with anti-personnel packing, including BB’s, ball bearings and nails. Several doctors involved with treating victims of the bombings reported that many of the injured had multiple pieces of shrapnel embedded into their bodies.
The White House said the bombings are being treated as an act of terrorism. In a statement, President Obama said, “We still don't know who did this or why. Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this.”
Video of the Boston Marathon bomb explosions provided by the Boston Globe.