|(Boston bombing-update) ‘We saw people with their legs blown off'
Surgeons worked into the night on the wounded from the two bomb blasts at the Boston marathon.
Police and doctors quoted by US media said ball bearings had been packed into the bombs causing horrific injuries, AFP reports.
Several victims went through “traumatic amputations’’ at the race medical tent or in hospitals, said Alasdair Conn, head of emergency medicine at the city's Massachusetts General Hospital. Five other hospitals were also used to admit victims.
More than 27,000 runners were in the 26.2 mile race and many of the runners had completed the race when the bombs erupted.
The blast and clouds of smoke tore through crowds on Boston's Boylston Street and blew out nearby shop windows. Streets around the bomb sites were kept closed as forensic experts moved in.
Video footage on American TV showed the detonation behind a row of national flags. One 78-year-old runner was blown to the ground and many bloodied spectators were pushed by the force of the blast through barriers onto the street.
Bill Iffrig, the runner who fell, said “the shockwave must have hit me. My legs felt like noodles.’’ But he got up and walked away again and told his story to many US media.
But other witnesses near the bombs told how bodies had been piled up on top of each other.
“We saw people with their legs blown off,'' Mark Hagopian, owner of the Charlesmark Hotel, told AFP from the basement of a restaurant where he had sought shelter.
“A person next to me had his legs blown off at the knee – he was still alive.’’
Governor Patrick said “the city of Boston is open and will be open tomorrow, but it will not be business as usual.’’