At least two people are dead following a pair of explosions in Boston, Massachusetts where thousands of runners are participating in the annual Boston Marathon. Local media report over 100 people have been injured as well.
Preliminary reports suggest two explosions occurred near the finish line of the 26.2-mile event shortly before 3 pm local time, and the Boston Globe is reporting two deaths and more than 100 injuries.
The FBI confirmed that the blasts were a terror attack, according to federal sources cited by CNN.
Federal aviation authorities have declared a no-fly zone over the area and authorities including the US Air Force continue to attempt to secure the scene. The aviation restrictions have reportedly extended to an order that all flights out of Boston’s Logan Airport be grounded until further notice.
An intelligence official working on the scene told the Associated Press that two additional explosive devices were found inside garbage cans near the site, and are being dismantled by a bomb squad.
As law enforcement look for further explosives, they have reportedly told people in the area to stay off of mobile phones in fears that the signal could detonate another undiscovered device.
A source at Boston’s Mass General hospital claimed that at least 10 patients have been admitted to the facility’s emergency room with missing limbs after the accident.
Police denied a claim by the New York Post that a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian national was in custody as a suspect in the blasts.
An explosion hit Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library as well Monday afternoon, with Boston’s police commissioner saying law enforcement officials were “not certain” if it was related to the blasts at the marathon, though they were “treating them as if they are.”
The Boston Marathon’s headquarters have reportedly put on locked down while authorities investigate the incident. Both US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have been made aware of the tragedy.
“Obama has directed administration to provide whatever assistance is necessary in the investigation and response,” a White House official tells the Globe.
Eyewitnesses say smoke filled the streets of the city after a first explosion, and seconds later another loud boom was heard.
“I saw two explosions. The first one was beyond the finish line. I heard a loud bang and I saw smoke rising,” Boston Herald reporter Chris Cassidy says from the scene. “I kept running and I heard behind me a loud bang. It looked like it was in a trash can or something.”
“There are people who have been hit with debris, people with bloody foreheads,” he says.
Witness Andrea Storer adds to the Globe, “It was huge. There had to be people killed. There had to be.”
“Blood everywhere,” another witness tells the paper.
The event has been put on hold and paramedics are quickly trying to assess the situation.
Earlier in the afternoon, 23-year-old Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa came in first-place by completing the run in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 22 seconds. At the time of the explosions, though, hundreds of runners were still racing for the finish line.
Organizers call the event the “world’s oldest annual marathon and one of the world’s most prestigious road races.”
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