Zvika Bronstein, 56, of Ramat Efal, flew to Boston to be part of the oldest marathon in the world, but instead he found himself at the scene of a terror attack. “It was a miracle that more weren’t killed because the place was packed,” he told Ynet after the blasts on Monday near the finish line took the lives of three people and left more than 140 injured.
The explosions were heard at around three in the afternoon EST (10 pm Israel). “I had just finished the marathon and decided to walk back to the hotel, which was about 2 kilometers away,” said Bronstein. “On the way back I heard a big explosion, but I didn’t connect the sounds to an attack. Only afterwards did I begin to see a lot of police and ambulances arriving at the scene and someone said it was an attack.”
- 2 explosions at Boston marathon finish line; 3 dead
According to Bronstein, “The explosion came from inside a building that was located by the finish line, at the area designated for the crowd of people who had come to watch the runners. The Boston Marathon is the mother of all marathons.” He added, “Not many Israelis come to this marathon, we were in total 16 Israelis here and as far as I know, noone of us were injured.”
The moment of the explosions
“My mobile wasn’t with me during the marathon,” he continued. “When I arrived to the hotel and saw all the phone calls and messages that came from home, I called to calm everyone down.” On his Facebook page, Bronstein wrote, “We had a great marathon till they ruined it for us.”
One of the blasts (Reuters)
Witnesses to the explosions said that they took place about 15 seconds apart. Paul Cummings, a 44-year-old runner from Portland, Ore., was in the medical tent near the finish line getting a leg massage when the bombs went off. “It didn't sound like a water main blowing or anything else – it sounded like a bomb," he said. “Maybe I watch too much TV or something, but as soon as I heard it, I knew it was a bomb. It was just a loud explosion, and then another. You can't hear a noise like that and think anything good happened."
Moments after the blasts (AP)
Jay Hartford, a 46-year-old nurse from Boston Children’s Hospital, was about 800 yards from finishing the marathon when the explosions occurred. He thought the blasts were connected to an electrical issue and continued running. Then he noticed the billowing smoke and the other runners in a state of panic. '"Some people hit the ground, in shock, a woman was on her knees screaming in fear."
Afghanistan vet Bruce Mendelson was attending a party in a nearby building. He heard the explosions and went to aid the injured. Mendelson described a scene of blood on the sidewalks and dozens hurt. Other witnesses told of being injured when windows shattered during the explosion.
Emergency personnel help the injured (AP)
Police officers who arrived on the scene yelled at runners to stop and go the other way, directing them away from the finish line.
The Boston Marathon is considered the oldest marathon in the world, held since 1897. This year’s race, which was held on the “Patriot Day” holiday and had 22,000 registered runners. Thousands of others arrived to volunteer, to cheer on loved ones and to watch race leaders as they crossed the finish line.
The explosions took place three hours after the winners completed the race.
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