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Americas

Panic as deadly blasts rock Boston Marathon finish line

© Dan Lampariello/ @Boston_to_a_T

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-15

At least two people were killed and 22 injured when two explosions shattered the finish line of the world-famous Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, sparking a massive emergency response operation as stragglers were rerouted away from the chaos.

At least two people were killed and 23 injured when two large explosions struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, sparking scenes of panic, witnesses and US media said.

Witnesses said the streets were littered with debris and blood and described paramedics racing off with stretchers. TV footage showed an explosion sending up a white plume of smoke along the sidelines of the race.

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

Two high-level law enforcement sources told Reuters news agency that one or more bombs were responsible for the explosions. One of the sources said there were “multiple” deaths after the blasts.

According to NBC News, multiple explosive devices were found in the city after the blasts.

There were also reports of a third blast being heard about an hour after the first two and Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis later confirmed there was an explosion at the John F. Kennedy presidential library, though there were no known injuries.

He urged people to stay indoors and not congregate in large groups.

Local media said the first explosion took place near a sports store and the second went off near a viewing stand.

“It’s clearly too early to know what could have caused these two explosions,” FRANCE 24 correspondent Simon Marks reported from Washington DC. “But the fact that this is such a high-profile event in Boston and that the explosions took place so close to the finishing line is only going to add to the suggestion that this could have been a terrorist attack.

“That is certainly an avenue down which investigators are going to want to wander.”

Trapped

Zara Bielkus, a 30-year-old spectator from Boston, said she heard two explosions seconds apart. Police then locked down the area.

“When we heard them, everyone looked at each other and went very quiet, and within a minute police came,” she told AFP.

Video tape shows some spectators trapped beneath some of the crowd control barricades which appear to have fallen on top of them as a result of the blasts.

The Boston Marathon is one of the biggest annual athletic events held in the United States, with nearly 27,000 racers who must qualify to compete and tens of thousands of spectators.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators typically line the 26.2 mile (42.19 km) race course, with the heaviest crowds gathering near the finish line.

In response to the explosions New York Police said they had deployed counter-terrorism police around Manhattan landmarks.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-04-15

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