Boston marathon bombing

Key Points

  • The FBI launched a "potential terrorist inquiry" after two bombs at the Boston Marathon
  • The blasts left three people dead - including an eight-year-old boy - and more than 150 injured
  • At least 17 people were critically wounded, officials say, and the injuries include several amputations
  • President Barack Obama said the attack was "an act of terror" but added authorities do not yet know who carried it out
  • All times EST (GMT -4)

    Hello and welcome to our coverage of the aftermath of the two fatal explosions during Monday's Boston Marathon. The blasts, which occurred near the finish line, left three people dead and at least 40 injured.

    Reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Lisa Fleisher

    tweets a picture of newspaper front pages at her hotel in Boston.

    Cameraman at @wfsbnews, Kevin Michael

    tweets: Just watched Heavilly armed swat teams and a brigade of #Boston Police fly by Boston Common w rifles drawn out of their vehicles.

    Broadcaster at @NECN, Justin Michaels

    tweets: We're live down here, roads closed everywhere, @ronallennbc. Copley Square driving near impossible.


    The FBI has taken over co-ordination of what it described as a "potential terrorist inquiry".


    The former Ireland correspondent of the Boston Globe, Kevin Cullen, told the BBC the father of a young boy who died in the blasts had just finished the race.

    "When he finished the race his young son left the sidewalk, he went on to Boylston Street and hugged his dad and then he went back on the sidewalk and his father went on to register his time," he said.


    Officials say at least 17 people are critically wounded and the injuries include several amputations.

    Deputy Social Media Editor at @Reuters, Matthew Keys
    Cameraman at @wfsbnews, Kevin Michael

    tweets: More National Guard & Swat - Police fly by with sirens on here off Boylston Street headed north in #Boston.

    Reporter for WBZ NewsRadio in Boston, Ben Parker

    tweets: At Mass Gen, where more than 2 dozen are being treated for a variety of injuries, most lower extremities. 8 critical. #wbz


    To recap what happened on Monday: The first explosion came at about 14:50 local time (18:50 GMT) on the north side of Boylston Street, about two hours after the winners crossed the line.

    Seconds later, another explosion ripped into the crowd further away from the finishing line, between 50 and 100 metres (yards) from the first blast.


    President Barack Obama has vowed to bring those behind the attack to justice. "Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice."


    Here's a map of the explosions, which happened seconds apart.


    It is not yet known who was behind the attack. A search thought to be related to the inquiry has been taking place at a flat in a Boston suburb, Boston media reported. Some investigators were seen leaving the property carrying brown paper bags, plastic bags and a duffel bag.

    Iain Harrison, in London

    emails: I ran Boston in 2011 and it is horrific to think of running down that finishing straight after 26 miles and something like that to happen. I am running the London Marathon for the second time next weekend and I feel sick to think that someone would consider doing this to such an event.

    A Boston police officer stands near the scene of the twin bombing during the Boston Marathon on 16 April 2013

    Downtown Boston has become a major crime scene.

    0711: Laura Trevelyan BBC News, Boston

    Bostonians are waking up and asking why did this happen to their beloved city and dear marathon?


    Here's a map of where the explosions occurred. They were close to the finish line of the marathon and seconds apart.


    Some facts about the Boston Marathon: It is the world's oldest annual marathon and the second biggest single-day sporting event in the US behind the Super Bowl, in terms of media coverage.


    A few more facts: More than 500,000 spectators line the course every year. It is held on Patriots Day, a Massachusetts state holiday which commemorates the first battles of the American Revolution in 1775.

    TV Journalist @WSBTV, Kerry Kavanaugh

    tweets an instagram picture: Remnants of what was left behind @ #Boston restaurant after #BostonMarathon explosions. #NewburyStreet

    Ashley Triplett, in Boston

    tweets: fell asleep to sirens, woke up to sirens


    This year there were about 23,000 runners. The winners had passed the finish line about two hours before the blasts.

    New York Post

    tweets: 'You could see the panic.' Witnesses say the #BostonMarathon finish line was a war zone of blood and glass.

    Billy Bambrough, in Kent, UK

    who is running the London Marathon on Sunday, emails: It's my first marathon and I'm naturally worried about everything that can go wrong. The bombing in Boston just adds to those worries really. I imagine I'll get a bit less sleep on Saturday night but I think it's important that people don't let it change anything.

    Still image taken from video courtesy of NBC shows one of explosions at the Boston Marathon

    Footage of the explosions, taken by broadcaster NBC, was circulated around the world.

    Kristin, in Boston

    tweets: Waking up to sounds of helicopters and continuous police sirens :( I hope they find out who was behind this soon... #boston

    Ramsey Mohsen, in Boston

    tweets a picture: Right outside our hotel this morning, Military, state, and Boston police, Hummers and special ops #bostonmarathon


    Messages of support and condolence have been flooding in from around the world.

    UK PM David Cameron said: "The scenes from Boston are shocking and horrific - my thoughts are with all those who have been affected."


    Afghan President Hamid Karzai denounced the attacks, sympathising with the American people: "Having suffered from terrorist attacks and civilian casualties for years, our people feel better the pain and suffering arising from such incidents."

    Alex Yungblud Lau, in Boston

    tweets: Feeling eerie on the Common this morning.

    Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon

    TV footage and pictures from immediately after the blasts showed bloodied runners and spectators being treated at the scene and the road strewn with debris. Rescuers tore down temporary fencing to reach the casualties.

    0749: Emily Buchanan BBC world affairs correspondent

    We still don't know who is responsible. Terror attack does not necessarily mean Islamic. There's a very large threat inside the US. A group which monitors far-right groups warned last month that the number of anti-government groups had risen tenfold in the last five years.

    Crystal, in Boston

    tweets: A lot of police and military presence at South Station this am

    BBC's Lauren Laverne

    tweets: Hearing about London Marathon runners putting their #handsoverhearts as they cross the finish line this weekend. It's going to be emotional.

    Military police checks ID on Massachusetts Avenue on April 16

    Security is tight in the city following the twin explosions.

    Swat team members and special police units assemble in the Boston Common on 16 April 2013

    Bostonians are waking up to a city teeming with soldiers and specialist units.


    is a hashtag currently being used on Twitter. Here is a selection of tweets: Holly Miles tweets: As if I don't find @LondonMarathon emotional enough, this is an amazing gesture to Boston for runners to do on finish line. Faye‏ tweets: London marathon runners are being encouraged to cross the finish line this weekend with #handsoverhearts in tribute to Boston. Beautiful. Ilona Burton tweets: I'll be thinking of all those affected in Boston when I cross that finish line on Sunday.


    The London Marathon is the next big event in the running calendar. It is taking place on Sunday and security is currently being reviewed after the Boston attacks.

    Patrice Dunn, in Boston

    tweets: My face is frozen from standing in line waiting to be screened to get into work at the JFK building. Guess I'll be staying inside today.

    0822: Laura Trevelyan BBC News, Boston

    Officials are searching for forensic evidence that was left behind. Police are also collecting mobile phone footage from members of the public.

    Steph Yiu, works at @WordPress/@Automattic

    tweets: South Station this morning: lots of security, bags being checked, runners wearing Boston Marathon gear as they take trains out of the city.


    For the latest news, analysis and reaction, visit this special report on the Boston bombs.

    Izzy, in Boston

    tweets: Is it pathetic that I am scared to leave my apartment?


    The attacks left three people dead, including an eight-year-old boy, and at least 140 injured. The Boston Globe newspaper has a story about two brothers who both lost a leg.

    News website Worldcrunch

    tweets a link to 50 Front Pages from around the world.


    The paper also has stories of kindness from runners who were diverted following the explosions. They were stranded on the course, unable to reach family and friends, and retrieve their belongings.

    "People in this city have been unbelievable," said Glenn Sheehan. "'Let me give you food, let me give you water' — it's been like that all afternoon."

    Jessica Ferron, in Boston

    tweets: The west side of the Boston Common is literally overflowing with police vehicles and a long line of army tanks. #cityunderattack

    Norman Sayers in Belfast, Northern Ireland

    texts: I just wanted to add to the messages of support and prayers on your website re the Boston bombing victims. I'm always impressed and in awe of the individuals who run immediately to help without a second thought. You have my utmost respect.

    sousou b, in Boston

    tweets: There's an eerie quietness in the financial district; busy but quiet. #Boston

    Jeffrey Porzio, in Boston

    tweets a picture of Copley Square in Boston.

    US soldiers patrol Grand Central Terminal in New York on April 16

    Soldiers on patrol in New York's Grand Central station. Key sites in Washington DC and New York have also seen security tightened after the blasts.


    Much of the area around the finish line remains sealed off but some runners have been getting as close as they can to pay tribute.

    Lea Elliasson, 55, who came from Sweden to take part in the marathon, told AFP news agency: "I am leaving today but I had to come. I finished 15 minutes before the bombs so I know I am lucky."

    Jennifer Treacy from Malta, New York

    was running the Boston Marathon for the first time and filming her progress. She managed to capture the moment the explosion went off. She says: Initially I didn't think it was a bomb, I just thought it was fireworks or something - a celebration, a happy event. Then it became quite evident that it was a bomb and I ran to seek cover. Myself and a lot of other runners on the street ran into a building lobby and there it was just chaos. There was a sense of panic because people were separated from their loved ones. My main worry was my 13-year-old son who was there at the time. It was hard to find each other initially, and then it was difficult to get out of Boston.

    Journalist for the Boston Herald, Dave Wedge

    tweets a picture of Boston Common: Boston Common a virtual military zone this morning @bostonherald #bostonmarathon

    Blogger Dan Shea, in Boston

    tweets: Heavy security at South Station this morning, police and troopers with assault rifles, riot gear, and dogs. Marathon jackets everywhere.


    This year's marathon attracted runners from every US state and more than 90 other countries. Many have been telling their story.

    British runner Keith Luxom, who had already finished when the bombs went off, told the BBC the jubilant mood changed to one of "shock, horror and total disbelief that people would target this great institution".

    "Lots of runners went to the hospitals and offered blood," he said. "People were sharing mobile phones so people without one could phone home."

    Bill Bratton

    Former Boston police commissioner Bill Bratton told the BBC World Service that the attacks in Boston were "the most significant since 9/11".

    "There are two pools of potential suspects - the usual suspects, people who are known and on the radar, but then there are those who are operating below the radar - the lone wolf who might be inspired by God knows what to create an action such as occurred yesterday, and the unknown are more difficult to track down."

    Journalist @AndreaWBZ

    tweets: New York Stock Exchange will have a moment of silence at 9:20am for #Boston.


    Another eyewitness - this time a spectator - told the Associated Press news agency her husband threw their children to the ground when the second bomb exploded.

    Brighid Wall, 35, said 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, she said they headed to a Starbucks and out the back door through an alley. Around them, the windows of the bars and restaurants were blown out.

    The Telegraph

    tweets a link to article: Out of the horror of the #BostonMarathon bombings, there emerged uplifting examples of human kindness.

    0910: Boston Police Department

    tweets: BPD asking for your patience as investigators process the crime scene #tweetfromthebeat via @CherylFiandaca

    0911: Paul Adams Boston, United States

    tweets: "In Boston, near scene of the bombings. Eerie scene. Blue police lights and billowing yellow crime scene tape. Silent and cold."


    Yesterday was a local holiday in Boston - Patriots' Day, which marks the beginning of the American War of Independence.

    Tuesday in Washington DC is Emancipation Day, which commemorates the release from bondage of the slaves in the US capital. A parade, concert and fireworks, are planned in downtown Washington DC, and local public radio station WAMU reports the city will increase security around the events, in addition to a broadened security perimeter around the White House.


    The FBI - who have taken charge of the investigation into the bombings - are scheduled to hold a press conference at 09:30 EDT (14:30 GMT). The BBC will cover that live.

    0917: Michelle Fleury BBC News, Boston

    Police are asking runners from out of town to share any videos they have from the scene, which could yield clues about the bombing.


    No group or individual has come forward to claim responsibility for the bombings. The Pakistani Taliban, which has threatened attacks in the US in retaliation for its support for the Pakistani government, has denied any role in the marathon bombings, the AP reports.

    Runners jog along Peachtree Street as part of an organized moment of silence and memorial run to show solidarity with victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, in Atlanta, Georgia 16 April 2013

    Runners in Atlanta, Georgia observed a running moment of silence on Peachtree Street in solidarity with the victims of the Boston bombings


    ABC's Terry Moran tweets: "Police officer on duty for #bostonmarathon tells me the blast area was swept for bombs--dogs, etc--before the race. 'They were watching us.'"


    The FBI and local authorities are expected to begin a press conference within minutes. Boston Mayor Tom Menino will be in attendance as well.


    CBS has tweeted a photo of the eight-year-old boy who died in the blast, Martin Richard.

    Martin Richard

    Boston Mayor Tom Menino will appear at the press conference in a wheelchair. The 70-year-old mayor broke his leg on Friday while entering an event at a primary school.


    Officials announce the FBI press conference will begin in two minutes.

    0941: Reporter at NY1 News Lindsey Christ

    tweets: Littlest sister @libsterWHIT getting coffee after all-night paper writing is evacuated from Duke University building. "Bomb threat."


    Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick says the two bombs that exploded were the only ones found, contrary to earlier reports police had discovered and dismantled unexploded devices.


    Governor Patrick says more than 150 people were injured, some of the "gravely".


    Mr Patrick says the city is planning an inter-faith service tomorrow.


    Boston Mayor Tom Menino says "terror was brought to the city of Boston" and says the eight-year-old boy killed was from nearby Dorchester.


    "We've got it under control," Mr Menino says. "Let's continue to help each other."


    Authorities have established a resource centre for those seeking information near the Park Plaza Hotel, Mr Menino says.


    "This is a bad day for Boston, but if we pull together we can get through it," Mr Menino says before passing the microphone to Senator Elizabeth Warren.


    Sen Warren says "we will find the person who did this", and says the president was actively involved in the response.


    The chief of the FBI investigation, Rick DesLauriers, says: "Our mission is clear: to bring to justice those responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings."


    Mr DesLauriers: No new threats.


    Mr DesLauriers also says investigators seek help from the public to establish a timeline of events.


    Mr DesLauriers: Investigators are actively following up on a number of leads and are processing a large volume of evidence.


    An official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives denies police had found seven explosive devices. The only bombs were the two that exploded, he says. He believes rumours begin as police dealt with suspicious packages.


    US Attorney Carmen Ortiz thanks the first responders, including "regular citizens who became heroes yesterday".


    Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis describes the bombing site as most complex crime scene in the history of the department.

    0955: Timmy Rowe in Boston

    tweets this picture from the finish line. He adds: Crazy scenes from finish area today. Once busy streets now a ghost town. Devastated for those who've lost loved ones.


    Mr Davis also says Boston police want to view all video and photographs from the city on Monday, not just around the scene of the explosions.

    0957: Good Morning America News Anchor Josh Elliott

    tweets: Just spoke with Liz Norden, whose 2 sons, JP and Paul, EACH lost a leg in Boston explosion. She wants all to know what strong men they are.


    A state police official says the police presence will be "significantly enhanced" on public transport and at Logan airport.


    The state police official also reiterates the request for any photos from the Boston Marathon, especially around the finish line. He says there are thousands of photos out there in the hands of people listening to him speak on television.


    Mr DesLauriers of the FBI will not comment on the make-up of the bombs. He repeats there are no known threats at this time.

    1018: Boston Mayor Tom Menino

    tweets: We are a strong city. We will pull together as neighbors.


    Mr Davis of the Boston police says officers swept the area for bombs before and during the race.


    Mr Davis says officers have collected video from local businesses in the area and "it's our intention to go through every frame of every video we have".


    The latest count, from Mr Davis: 176 wounded, 17 in critical condition - and three dead.


    The press conference in Boston ends - with little new information released. Police say they may brief the public again as early as this afternoon.

    1022: Comedienne Joan Rivers

    tweets: No jokes. Watching the Boston coverage-this is just terrible, terrible, terrible. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone.


    Another press conference is underway at Massachusetts General Hospital. A doctor says they found "small metallic fragments" inside victims, including nails. He adds the hospital has performed four amputations.

    1024: Boston Red Sox baseball player Jose Iglesias

    tweets: My heart goes out my friends and family in Boston. Pray and love for those involved in #BostonMarathon.


    US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has called the Boston bombings a "cruel act of terror".

    1028: City of Boston

    tweets: There will be an increased police presence in the City: nat'l guard & other armed officers at key points including #MBTA.


    The Massachusetts General doctor says the metallic debris found in victims could have come from the surrounding environment but he believes, based on the concentration, that it originated in the bomb.

    1034: Paul Adams Boston, United States

    tweets a photo: "Heavy security in downtown Boston this morning"

    security in boston
    1036: Maria Tucker

    tweets: So much more thankful to hear my Moms voice today and to know that she made it in to Boston to work safely #bostonstrong #prayforboston

    1042: Paul Adams Boston, United States

    tweets: "Boston runners taking one last look before heading home"

    Runners at Boston marathon on Tuesday
    1042: Reporter for WHDH-TV, Jonathan Hall

    tweets: Disagreement among hospital officials about the shrapnel; mass general says pellets and nail like objects were probably intrinsic to bombs.

    He add: But Dr Walls at the Brigham said last night it is his opinion the shrapnel was all environmental.

    1043: Reporter at CBS Boston, Bree Sison

    tweets: Yday docs said wounds were consistent w/what you'd see in war zone. Sounds like bombs were a lot like IEDs- packed with nails/pellets


    President Barack Obama orders flags at the White House and public buildings and grounds flown at half mast.

    1050: Guatie Barbie in Boston

    tweets: #Thisisourtown! We will rise from this tragedy! Together we stand! We are Bostonians! You cannot divide this city! #prayforboston

    1057: Franz Strasser BBC News, Boston

    tweets: "Runners this morning said they wanted to pay tribute and clear their head. One nurse said this used to be her favorite holiday."


    The Washington Post has collected a series of facts and charts about terrorism in the US. Among the points: the total number of attacks - if not of fatalities - has dropped since the 1970s.

    1058: Reporter for WCVB Newscenter 5, Sean Kelly

    tweets: Carpenter type nails also removed from a patient at Boston hospital.


    In Somalia, al-Shabaab militants say the bombings are "a tiny fraction of what US soldiers inflict on innocent Muslims across the globe on a daily basis", according to BBC Monitoring. But the al-Qaeda-allied group has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

    1103: Bestselling thriller writer Joseph Finder

    via Facebook: I think of the cowardice of the terrorists who'd packed bombs with ball bearings to kill and maim as many of us as possible. Then I think of the courage of all the Boston and State police and FBI agents and EMT workers and National Guard and the doctors and nurses and the ordinary citizens, who raced to help the wounded, taking off their belts to use as tourniquets for those who'd lost legs, carrying people to safety, consoling the parents of the dead and the mutilated. And I'm prouder of this city than ever.

    1105: Franz Strasser BBC News, Boston

    Some runners out this morning in Boston said they were taking their morning jog as a show of defiance.

    "I feel incredibly fortunate that I can get up and run this morning," one woman says.

    Runner out on the morning after the Boston bombings

    President Barack Obama is scheduled to make a statement at the White House at 11:30 EDT (15:30 GMT).

    1107: Phil Rosenberg

    via Instagram: Wearing my superman shirt today as a thank you to the real life superheroes yesterday at the Boston Marathon. From the BPD, to the paramedics, the spectators, to the marathon runners, and all others involved. In a time of utter sadness and fear, Boston came together and showed the world just how tough we are. "Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people." #prayforboston #BostonMarathon #superhero


    At 17:00 GMT, World Have Your Say on BBC World Service radio will discuss the mood in the US after the Boston marathon bombing. If you have a comment, please contact us on our Facebook page or tweet using #WHYS. Listen live at 17:00 GMT here.


    Former state department spokesman PJ Crowley says a case can be made for both international and domestic terrorism.


    Mr Crowley says if a foreign militant group is responsible - particularly one affiliated with al-Qaeda - look for a claim of responsibility.

    1120: Reporter at WHDH-TV, Susan Tran

    tweets this picture and adds: Emotional #BostonMarathon runners coming to collect belongings. Runners who didn't make to finish line


    An aeroplane is being held on the tarmac at Boston's Logan Airport, but no further details are available as to why.

    1121: Boston Red Sox baseball player Will Middlebrooks

    tweets: I can't wait to put on my jersey today... I get to play for the strongest city out there. #BostonStrong


    Now Bloomberg News reports that New York's LaGuardia Airport is being evacuated due to a report of a suspicious package.

    1124: Deputy Press Secretary to Mayor Tom Menino, John M. Guilfoil

    tweets: They tried to take out our legs. They didn't factor in our hearts. #boston


    President Barack Obama is expected to speak shortly at the White House.


    Local media report passengers are being allowed back into the terminal at New York's LaGuardia airport.


    Mr Obama says: "our first thoughts this morning are with the victims."


    Mr Obama says: "Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is terrorism." But he says investigators do not yet know if the attack was the work of a group or an individual.


    "Americans refuse to be terrorised," Mr Obama continues, mentioning the first responders who helped those injured, the medical students who rushed to area hospitals to help, and the people of Boston who opened their homes. "You want to know how we respond to evil? There it is."

    1135: Rebecca McGrath from Boston

    tweets: Boston is a large dysfunctional family. We quarrel and fight, often bitterly. But take on one of us, you watch how fast we come together.


    Mr Obama says officials do not yet "have a sense of motive" for the attack. He promises further briefings as the investigation continues.

    1136: Boston Globe reporter David Abel

    tweets this picture and adds: Boylston Street is now becoming a shrine, a moment frozen in time, a marathon unfinished.

    1140: Bahman Kalbasi BBC Persian

    tweets a photo from downtown Boston. He reports security is very tight and helicopters are flying over the area.

    Picture from Boston

    Our colleagues at BBC Travel have put together an update on the status of transit system in Boston.


    Boston's Logan Airport has posted on its Facebook page about the plane that was held earlier on the tarmac:

    "Out of an abundance of caution a US Airways flight was remotely parked at the airfield while a bag on board was examined. The passengers were bused to the terminal, the baggage was deemed harmless, and the flight taxied to the gate. Airport operations were not impacted."


    Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. The BBC will continue to cover this story on television and radio, as well as on our special report here on the website.


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