BOSTON (CBSNewYork) — CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider was one of the thousands crowding the streets for the Boston Marathon on Monday, and heard the bombs that detonated as a cheerful athletic event turned into a scene of carnage and horror.
Schneider was in a downtown Boston restaurant with her brother, who ran the race and finished about an hour before the explosions went off.
“It was an uncertain scene when this happened. We heard the two loud, cannon-like booms; had no idea what was going on. Then to see police racing down the stairs inside this restaurant, and these emergency vehicles racing out to this scene – it was an unbelievable and uncertain scene that right now, we’re still trying to figure out,” Schneider said.
Katie Wiggins, a CBS 2 assignment desk assistant, was also close to the scene of the terror. She was in Boston watching her father run the marathon, and was just steps away from the explosion.
“I was about 100 yards away from the explosion waiting for my dad. He was running, and he was about a mile away,” Wiggins said.
Wiggins described a scene of horror and panic.
“We had passes to go into the grandstand where the explosions were, and we were almost there. And we heard a giant explosion. The ground shook and rumbled for about three or four seconds – a huge explosion. We could just hear the building coming apart. We saw all this smoke come out,” she said. “A few seconds later, another explosion. And people started running and screaming.
“The police told us to stop running,” she continued. “Everyone was trying to get away from the scene. It was terrifying and no one knew what was happening. We didn’t know if there were more bombs somewhere else. It was honestly the most terrifying thing.”
Soon afterward, the streets were flooded with ambulances and fire trucks, Wiggins said.
“I didn’t see anybody get hit, or anybody on the ground. But we saw people running from the scene. We saw ambulances coming and stretchers,” she said. “Honestly, I ran away. People were telling me to stop running, but I just wanted to get away from there.”
Phil Vaughn, a video editor for WBZ-TV, CBS 4 Boston, ran the marathon himself wearing a video camera. Along with many other runners, he was stopped by police just around the corner from the scene of the explosion – but without immediately being told what had happened, CBS Boston reported.
“At first, it’s complete confusion,” Vaughn said in the CBS Boston report. “You knew something bad happened — they don’t stop the race for something minor. The runners stayed fairly calm. It was more when people started coming down Boylston that we realized something bad had happened. And then people started crying — runners breaking down and crying.
“It wasn’t until we saw panicked spectators coming off Boylston that we knew something really bad had happened,” Vaughn added.
Vaughn told WBZ-TV he had to hitchhike to get out of town, because there was no other easy way out and that the tragedy ruined what was a great day to that point.
Meanwhile, Rich Shertenlieb, a host at Boston sports talk radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub, experienced the explosion from the building where he lives. The building sustained damage as a result of the bombs, WBZ-TV reported.
“I was putting my son down for his nap and we heard this loud explosion,” Shertenlieb told WBZ-TV. “I saw the smoke rising up to my window, by the time I looked out, another big bomb had sounded like it went off, it shook our building.”
Shertenlieb told the station that and his wife, who is undergoing cancer treatment, rushed downstairs to see what was going on.
“When we got down to the lobby apparently the bomb or whatever had gone off had blown through the door and had blown people into our lobby,” Shertenlieb told the station. “There were people lying around covered in blood.”
Shertelieb said he had taken his son to watch the runners about 45 minutes prior to the explosions, and said the crowd was about six people deep at the time.
New York Times Kansas City correspondent John Eligon, and Washington Post reporter Vernon Loeb, also ran the Marathon themselves Monday – only to be pressed into service to report on the bombings afterward.
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