BOSTON – Two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing two people and injuring more than 100 in a terrifying scene of shattered glass, bloodstained pavement and severed limbs, authorities said.
A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other bombs were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course.
President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will “feel the full weight of justice.”
A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding said the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism.
Dr. Joe Welty of Dixon, a physician with KSB Medical Group, was just 4 blocks from the explosions.
“I had gone through the finish line area and met up with my family,” the 57-year-old longtime runner said. “We heard two large blasts. We saw smoke going up in the area. That’s about all I can tell you.”
Welty and Rock Falls resident Troy Rasmussen, 46, were among the runners in the marathon. Both had run it before.
Rasmussen finished the marathon in 3 hours, 17 minutes, while Welty crossed the line in 3 hours, 39 minutes.
Because Rasmussen finished earlier, he was farther from the explosions. He was already with his family at a hotel in Brookline, a Boston suburb, about 2 miles from the finish line.
They were watching the marathon broadcast on TV when an announcer cut in to report what happened. They hadn’t heard the explosions from their hotel.
“We missed it by 30 or 40 minutes,” said Rasmussen, an agricultural commodities trader.
Rasmussen and his family went by subway to their hotel. Welty and his family, however, walked the 1.5 miles to their Boston hotel.
“We figured it wouldn’t be a good idea to take the subway system at that point,” he said.
Tiffani Behrens, Rasmussen’s sister, said she found out about the explosion from a text from her mother, who was in Boston to watch her brother run.
“She told me that if I hear about the explosions, they’re fine,” the Rock Falls resident said.
Welty asked Sauk Valley residents to pray for those who were injured or killed in the explosions.
“It’s turned what’s supposed to be a wonderful, celebratory event into a horrible tragedy.”
Google search for runners
Google stepped in Monday to help family and friends of runners find their loved ones, setting up a site called Google Person Finder at google.org/personfinder/2013-boston-explosions that allows users to enter the name of a person they're looking for or enter information about someone who was there.