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Large explosions kill three, injure more than 170 at Boston Marathon

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Two large explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 170 on Monday.

NBC News reports one of the three victims was an 8-year-old child.

According to numerous reports on Twitter, the detonations occurred near the intersection of Dartmouth and Boylston streets. A graphic video showed the scene of the explosion.

The bloody scene of shattered glass and severed limbs raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S.

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

President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will “feel the full weight
of justice.”

A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other bombs were found near the
end of the 26.2-mile course in what appeared to be a well-coordinated attack.

The fiery twin blasts took place about 10 seconds and about 100 yards apart,
knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows
and sending dense plumes of smoke rising over the street and through the
fluttering national flags lining the course. Blood stained the pavement, and
huge shards were missing from window panes as high as three stories.

“They just started bringing people in with no limbs,” said runner Tim Davey
of Richmond, Va. He said he and his wife, Lisa, tried to keep their children’s
eyes shielded from the gruesome scene inside a medical tent that had been set up
to care for fatigued runners, but “they saw a lot.”

“They just kept filling up with more and more casualties,” Lisa Davey said.
“Most everybody was conscious. They were very dazed.”

Authorities shed no light on a motive or who may have carried out the bombings,
and police said they had no suspects in custody. Authorities in Washington said
there was no immediate claim of responsibility. The FBI took charge of the

Police said three people were killed. Hospitals reported at least 134 injured,
at least 15 of them critically. The victims’ injuries included broken bones,
shrapnel wounds and ruptured eardrums.

At Massachusetts General Hospital, said Alisdair Conn, chief of emergency
services, said: “This is something I’ve never seen in my 25 years here … this
amount of carnage in the civilian population. This is what we expect from war.”

Some 23,000 runners took part in the race, one of the world’s oldest and most
prestigious marathons.

One of Boston’s biggest annual events, the race winds up near Copley Square,
not far from the landmark Prudential Center and the Boston Public Library. It is
held on Patriots Day, which commemorates the first battles of the American
Revolution, at Concord and Lexington in 1775.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis asked people to stay indoors or go back
to their hotel rooms and avoid crowds as bomb squads methodically checked
parcels and bags left along the race route. He said investigators didn’t know
whether the bombs were hidden in mailboxes or trash cans.

He said authorities had received “no specific intelligence that anything was
going to happen” at the race.

The Federal Aviation Administration barred low-flying aircraft within 3.5 miles
of the site.

“We still don’t know who did this or why,” Obama said at the White House,
adding, “Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this.”

With scant official information to guide them, members of Congress said there
was little or no doubt it was an act of terrorism.

“We just don’t know whether it’s foreign or domestic,” said Rep. Michael
McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

A few miles away from the finish line and around the same time, a fire broke
out at the John F. Kennedy Library. The police commissioner said it may have
been caused by an incendiary device but didn’t appear to be related to the

The first explosion occurred on the north side of Boylston Street, just before
the finish line.

When the second bomb went off, the spectators’ cheers turned to screams. As
sirens blared, emergency workers and National Guardsmen who had been assigned to
the race for crowd control began climbing over and tearing down temporary fences
to get to the blast site.

The bombings occurred about four hours into the race and two hours after the
men’s winner crossed the line. By that point, more than 17,000 of the runners
had finished the race but thousands more were still running.

The attack may have been timed for maximum carnage: The four-hour mark is
typically a crowded time near the finish line because of the slow-but-steady
recreational runners completing the race and because of all the relatives and
friends clustered around to cheer them on.

The senior U.S. intelligence official said the two other explosive devices
found nearby were being dismantled. The official spoke on condition of anonymity
because he was not authorized to discuss the findings publicly.

Runners in the medical tent for treatment of dehydration or other race-related
ills were pushed out to make room for victims of the bombing.

A woman who was a few feet from the second bomb, Brighid Wall, 35, of Duxbury,
said that when it exploded, runners and spectators froze, unsure of what to do.
Her husband threw their children to the ground, lay on top of them and another
man lay on top of them and said, “Don’t get up, don’t get up.”

After a minute or so without another explosion, Wall said, she and her family
headed to a Starbucks and out the back door through an alley. Around them, the
windows of the bars and restaurants were blown out.

She said she saw six to eight people bleeding profusely, including one man who
was kneeling, dazed, with blood trickling down his head. Another person was on
the ground covered in blood and not moving.

“My ears are zinging. Their ears are zinging,” Wall said. “It was so
forceful. It knocked us to the ground.”

Competitors and race volunteers were crying as they fled the chaos. Authorities
went onto the course to carry away the injured, while race stragglers were
rerouted away from the smoking site.

Roupen Bastajian, a state trooper from Smithfield, R.I., had just finished the
race when he heard the blasts.

“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.”

The Boston Marathon honored the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting with a
special mile marker in Monday’s race.

Boston Athletic Association president Joanne Flaminio previously said there was
“special significance” to the fact that the race is 26.2 miles long and 26
people died at Sandy Hook Elementary school.

A third explosion was reported after the initial blasts. Police said it was a controlled blast carried out by the bomb squad.

In a statement, the White House said President Barack Obama was informed of the explosions and was working with law enforcement to learn more.

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.

Out of more than 23,000 runners at least 5,500 were not able to finish, according to Eric Wilbur from the Boston Globe.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.