About a half million people were packed together at the Boston Marathon for Marathon Monday when two explosions were heard after the runners crossed the finish line in the vicinity of Boylston Street as spectators cheered them on.
About 20 seconds elapsed between the explosions. It was approximately 2:50 p.m. local time.
The explosions occurred more than five hours after the start of the race, at a time when most top athletes were off the course, but slower amateurs were still running.
At this point, no one has claimed responsibility for the explosions. The origins of the explosions at this time are unknown.
The people in the area of the Boston Library "ducked and hit the ground." Spectators were ordered to leave the area while police and emergency personnel rushed in.
There are several casualties among the spectators. A local news reporter said some people had their legs blown off, there are severed limbs scattered about and some severe burns. There are two confirmed deaths.
Bloody spectators were being carried to a medical tent that had been set up to care for tired runners.
People in the area are being warned to avoid anything they see as suspicious and areas such as trash cans or manholes.
In Boston, there is a local holiday known as "Patriots' Day" and many persons were off from work for the holiday.
At this point, smoke is still visible and the smell of sulphur may have been present, according to some witnesses. Investigators are checking for cheicals on the scene to rule out that this was some sort of a chemical attack.
Complicating the investigation is the fact that many spectators, while fleeing the scene, left behind numerous personal belongings, such as packages.
Many runners and spectators were crying. Near to 4:00 p.m. local time, a police controlled explosion was heard near ground zero.
The Marathon Hotel near the finish line has been exacuated due to possible suspicious devices sited.
Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington was closed down, as well as local transport in Boston.
Update: Three people are confirmed dead while there are also at least 140 injured according to the authorities - the latest reports point towards the number of injured being as high as eighty,possibly more. The Boston Marathon is one of the highest-profile sports events in the calendar of the United States of America, this year's being the 117th in the history of the event. Latest reports indicate that there were three explosions.
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