미국 보스턴 경찰이 피해자를 구급차로 후송하고 있다. (AF)
미국 보스턴 마라톤대회에서 발생한 폭발로 8살 소년이 현장에서 즉사한 것으로 알려졌다.
영국 데일리메일 등 외신들에 따르면 15일 오후 (현지시간) 마라톤 대회 결승선 근처에서 '폭탄테러'가 발생해 최소 3명이 사망하고 130여 명이 부상했으며 사망자 중 한 명은 8살 소년으로 확인됐다.
언론들은 당시 응원 행렬 가운데서 10여 초 간격으로 두 차례 폭발이 일어났고 이 폭발로 소년이 사망했다고 전했다.
목격자들은 폭발 직후의 현장을 '아비규환'으로 묘사했다.
한 목격자는 "사람들 다리가 날아다니는 것을 봤다. 끔찍했다"고 전했다.
또 폭발로 인해 팔·다리가 절단된 사람들이 인근 시립병원에 입원한 것으로 알려졌다.
당시 폭발현장에서 90ｍ 정도 떨어진 빌딩 안에 있었다는 한 시민은 "첫번째 폭발의 충격이 빌딩을 덮쳤는데 대포처럼 거대한 폭발이었다"며 "두번째 폭발의 위력은 더욱 커 우리 건물 전체를 뒤흔들었다"고 묘사했다.
폭발의 충격으로 피투성이가 된채 바닥에 뒹굴고 있는 시민과 선수들의 모습이 언론과 시민들 카메라에 잡혔다. 권총을 든 손에 경찰이 이러저리 뛰어다니며 소리치는 모습도 포착됐다.
폭탄테러 직후 사망자 수를 두 명으로 발표했던 경찰은 사망자가 3명으로 늘었다고 밝혔다.
하지만 현재 병원으로 후송된 부상자 중 8명은 상태가 위중하고 또다른 14명은 중상을 입은 것으로 전해져 사망자는 더욱 늘어날 가능성이 있다.
보스턴 경찰은 존 F. 케네디(JFK) 도서관에서 발생한 '3번째 폭발'은 전기에 의한 화재로 보인다고 밝혔다.
한편, 지난해 12월 코네티컷주 뉴타운의 샌디훅 초등학교에서 발생한 총기 난사 사건의 희생자 가족들도 폭발 당시 VIP석에 앉아 경기를 관람한 것으로 전해졌다.
이들이 앉아있던 장소는 폭발 현장에서 매우 가까운 곳이었다. (연합뉴스)
<관련 영문 기사>
Police: 2 dead, 23 hurt in Boston Marathon blasts
Two bombs exploded near the crowded finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing two people and injuring more than 50 others in a terrifying scene of broken glass, smoke and severed limbs at the world's oldest and most prestigious race, authorities said.
A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other explosive devices were found near the marathon finish line.
There was no word on the motive or who may have launched the attack, and authorities in Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The twin blasts at the race took place almost simultaneously and about 100 yards (meters) apart, tearing limbs off numerous people, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending smoke rising over the street.
As people wailed in agony, bloody spectators were carried to a medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners.
“They just started bringing people in in with no limbs,” said Tim Davey, of Virginia. He said he and his wife, Lisa, tried to keep their children's eyes shielded from the gruesome scene.
Some 27,000 runners took part in the 26.2-mile (42-kilometer) race, one of the world's premier marathons and one of Boston's biggest annual events.
After the explosions, mobile phone service was shut down in the area to prevent any possible remote explosive detonations, a law enforcement official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis asked people to stay indoors or go back to their hotel rooms and avoid crowds as bomb squads checked parcels and bags left along the race route.
The third blast rocked the John F. Kennedy Library a few miles (kilometers) away and more than an hour later, but no injuries were reported, the police commissioner said.
The Federal Aviation Administration barred low-flying aircraft from within 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) of the site.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the explosions by Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco. Obama also told Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick that his administration would provide whatever support was needed, the White House said.
Obama planned to issue a statement Monday evening in televised remarks from the White House.
“There are people who are really, really bloody,” said Laura McLean, a runner from Toronto, who was in the medical tent being treated for dehydration when she was pulled out to make room for victims.
About two hours after the winners crossed the line, there was a loud explosion on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the photo bridge that marks the finish line. Another explosion could be heard a few seconds later.
The Boston Police Department said two people were killed. Hospitals reported at least 57 injured, at least eight of them critically.
A senior U.S. intelligence official said the two other explosive devices found nearby were being dismantled. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the findings publicly.
Competitors and race volunteers were crying as they fled the chaos. Authorities went onto the course to carry away the injured while race stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site.
Roupen Bastajian, a 35-year-old state police officer from neighboring Rhode Island, had just finished the race when they put the heat blanket wrap on him and he heard the blasts.
“I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor,” he said. “We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated. ... At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing.”
Smoke rose from the blasts, fluttering through the national flags lining the route in the heart of central Boston. TV helicopter footage showed blood staining the pavement in the popular shopping and tourist area known as the Back Bay.
Runners who had not finished the race were diverted straight down Commonwealth Avenue and into a family meeting area, according to an emergency plan that had been in place.
Vice President Joe Biden was on a conference call with gun control activists when staffers turned on televisions in his office Monday to view coverage of the explosions. Biden said during the call that his prayers were with those who suffered injuries.
“Apparently there has been a bombing,” Biden said. “I don't know any of the details of what caused it, who did it. I don't think it exists yet. But our prayers are with those people in Boston who suffered injury.”
Shortly after the explosions, Secret Service shut down Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House, cordoning off the area with yellow police tape. Several Secret Service patrol cars also blocked off the entry points to the road.
The White House was not on lockdown and tourists and other onlookers were still able to be in the park across the street from the executive mansion.
Attorney General Eric Holder directed the full resources of the Justice Department be deployed to investigate and a department official said Holder has spoken with FBI Director Robert Mueller. The official said the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts's office was coordinating the Justice Department's response with the FBI and other federal, state and local law enforcement authorities.
Cities worldwide stepped up security following the explosions.
In Britain, police said they were reviewing security plans for Sunday's London Marathon, the next major international marathon. Thousands of people compete in the London Marathon every year, thronging the city's streets. London is also considered a top target for international terrorists.
A London Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed Monday that police are working with marathon officials to review security plans for Sunday's event. The London race's chief executive, Nick Bitel, expressed shock and sadness about the situation in Boston, saying “it is a very sad day for athletics and for our friends in marathon running.”
In New York City, police spokesman Paul Browne said that critical response teams are deployed around the city. Officials were stepping up security at hotels and other prominent locations.
Police at three major Los Angeles area airports, including Los Angeles International Airport, were in a “heightened state of vigilance,” with increased patrols to make it visible that more police were on duty Monday, said Chief of Airport Police Patrick Gannon.
Race day got started with 26 seconds of silence in honor of the victims of the December school massacre in Connecticut. A little more than 2 hours later, the lead runners passed the Mile 26 marker, which was decorated with the Newtown, Connecticut, seal and dedicated to the memory of those killed there.
Boston Athletic Association president Joanne Flaminio previously said there was “special significance” to the fact that the race is 26.2 miles long and 26 people died at Sandy Hook Elementary school.
The annual marathon attracts more than 500,000 spectators. It takes place on Patriot's Day, a state holiday that celebrates the evacuation of Boston by the British in the American Revolution.
Spectator Cherie Falgoust was waiting for her husband, who was running the race.
“I was expecting my husband any minute,” she said. “I don't know what this building is ... it just blew. Just a big bomb, a loud boom, and then glass everywhere. Something hit my head. I don't know what it was. I just ducked.”(AP)