By Neil Swidey
Kelly Beckett , 39, of Milton, and her sister Kristen Souza, 36, of North Attleboro, were running in honor of their mother, who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in August. Beckett had run before, but this was Souza’s first time. They had just reached Mile 20 when they were told by race officials to stop and turn out. The race was over.
They reversed direction, walking nearly a mile back into Newton Centre. “I can’t believe we’re walking backwards,” Souza said as they walked along Centre Street. Before turning off Commonwealth Avenue, they had passed a medical tent and grabbed BAA mylar blankets to wrap themselves in. “Grab one before they’re all gone,” Beckett told her sister, who had been training for her first marathon since October.
“Our family had finish line passes,” Beckett said. “Luckily, they were on their way and hadn’t made it there yet.” Souza’s phone had already died, but fortunately Beckett’s still had juice.
“It’s all so overwhelming,” Beckett said. “You assume there’s high security, but the course is so long that I guess it’s impossible to guard against everything.”
The sisters were heading to Starbucks to wait for a ride. They had just $5 between them, and were hoping the baristas would look kindly on them, until their family managed to get there.
Guests are allowed to leave Copley Plaza.
Both CNN and NBC News are reporting that one of the victims who died was an 8-year-old child. We have not confirmed.
US Rep. Michael Capuano on the floor of the US House: I want to remind everyone that this is not just about the people of Boston; the Boston Marathon is an international event with runners from all over the world. I would not be at all surprised if some of those injured aren't from Boston or Massachusetts.
The House then held a moment of silence for the victims of the explosions.
From Natalie Covate, Boston University News Service:
Panicha Imsomboon, a BU journalism graduate student, stood on the final stretch of the Boston Marathon track when she heard a bomb to her left.
“I turned to the first explosion just like everyone did,” she said. “I saw the smoke, probably as high as the buildings there. Just a few seconds after that, I heard another explosion.”
After the second bomb, the crowd began to leave. Imsomboon walked with the crowd for half a block.
“After I stopped walking, a kid, maybe three or four years old, started crying,” she said. “At first, his parents thought he was shocked. Then, they found out that one of his legs was injured.”
The parents were trying to call an ambulance when an ambulance drove past them.
“In the end, the mother carried her boy and ran to find the ambulance,” Imsomboon said.
Imsomboon continued moving with the crowd when a woman with a neck injury walked up beside her.
“She had to lay down on the sidewalk,” Imsomboon said. “The blood was coming out of her neck. A friend of hers tried to hold her hand. All of us, including me, tried to yell at the ambulance because at the time she looked really bad.”
Imsomboon handed the woman a scarf to serve as a bandage.
“I know my scarf might not be clean enough,” Imsomboon said, “but it was the best thing I could find.”
Imsomboon made it safely back to her apartment near Boston University. She has no injuries other than a buzzing in her ears. She was a member of a student team reporting the marathon. She was covering fashion at the finish line of the marathon.
The Globe has confirmed that an 8-year-old boy was one of the two victims who died in the explosion. This was reported earlier by NBC News and CNN.