Boston: When the smoke cleared after the multiple blasts at the Boston Marathon finish line, dozens of victims lay in the street, some unconscious, some grievously injured, according to various eyewitness reports.
Blood and broken glass covered sidewalks in the area after the bombings at about 2:50 p.m. local time Monday afternoon in downtown Boston.
Shaken witnesses cited by Boston Globe described scenes of chaos and horrific injuries, including some whose limbs had been torn off by the blasts.
"It was just immediately (evident) there were injuries, right in the middle of the spectator crowds," said boston.com sports producer Steve Silva, who was on the scene to cover the race.
"There was blood everywhere; there were victims being carried out on stretchers. I saw someone lose their leg. People are crying. People are confused," Silva, who shot shocking video of the explosions was quoted as saying.
"I was there at the finish, shooting finish line scenes, and then, bang!, it just went off, and then less than 15 to 20 seconds after, there was a second explosion, closer to Fairfield Street," Silva said.
"It was just an explosion. It came out of nowhere. ... I saw dismemberment.
I saw blood everywhere."
Dave Benson, 41, who was in the stands across Boylston Street from the explosion, was quoted as saying: "I thought it was an end-of-the-event celebration with fireworks. Then I saw a huge plume of smoke and people falling down."
Andrea George, 39, who was also across the street, told the Globe: "We heard a noise and heard the glass shatter. My friend was right there, and I can`t get in touch with them. I just started running. Everyone was running in different directions. It was the scariest thing I ever saw."
Al Ghilardi, a photographer for the Boston Athletic Association, was standing on the bridge over the finish line when he saw a red flash.
"Then a big plume of white smoke, and then I ducked because I felt the shrapnel," Ghilardi was quoted as saying by the Globe. "I saw people in awe. They were frozen. It took a few seconds for people to recognize what happened."
Nicola Gifford, a 47-year-old waitress from Maui said she was scared. "I thought the other buildings were going to go down," a throwback to what happened in New York on 9/11 when the twin towers were brought down, an event that has scarred the American psyche.
Mike Smith, a mechanic, who was near the medical tent when explosions happened, said: "I was in shock. It was like a cannon going off."
"I didn`t know what was going on. I didn`t realise what was happening until I saw people covered in blood. I saw maimed people," he told the Globe.