Boston — Two bombs ripped through the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people, causing several amputations and injuring more than 100 in what a White House official said would be handled as an “act of terror.”
It was the worst bombing on U.S. soil since security was tightened after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and President Barack Obama promised to hunt down whoever was responsible for the attack on a day when tens of thousands of spectators packed the streets to watch the world-famous race.
No one has been arrested and the White House official said it would have to be determined whether the attack came from a foreign or domestic source.
Many runners were heading for the finish when a fireball and smoke rose from behind cheering spectators and a row of flags representing the countries of participants, video from the scene showed.
The cheers turned to screams and panic.
“I saw people who looked like they had their legs blown off. There was a lot of blood over their legs. Then people were being pushed in wheelchairs,” said Joe Anderson, 33, a fisherman from Pembroke, Massachusetts, who had just run the race holding a large U.S. flag.
A Rhode Island state trooper told The New York Times body parts littered the scene.
“These runners just finished and they don’t have legs now,” Roupen Bastajian said. “So many of them. There are so many people without legs. It’s all blood. There’s blood everywhere. You got bones, fragments. It’s disgusting. It’s like a war zone.”
Ambulances, fire trucks and dozens of police vehicles converged at the scene, and spectators could be seen crying and consoling each other.