Apr 15, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; General view of law enforcement officers in Boston following multiple bomb blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports
(USA TODAY) -- At least two people died and 23 others were injured Monday after two blasts ripped through the crowd near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Police found two more explosive devices and disarmed them, officials said. A third blast from a controlled detonation was heard downtown.
The marathon organizers announced on Facebook that bombs had caused the explosions, which occurred in quick succession about 2:50 p.m. on Boylston Street near the intersection of Exeter Street, three hours after the winner had crossed the finish line.
Bloodied spectators were carried to medical tent intended for runners. Several of the injured had lost limbs, and at least one police officer was hurt.
"Somebody's leg flew by my head. I gave my belt to stop the blood," spectator John Ross told The Boston Herald.
Police reported at least 23 were injured, but hospitals reported receiving more patients.
Massachusetts General Hospital was treating 19 victims, spokeswoman Susan McGreevey said. Tufts New England Medical Center had nine patients "and we're expecting more," said spokeswoman Julie Jette.
Organizers immediately stopped the race and locked down the marathon headquarters.
The elite women runners started the race at 9:30 a.m. and the elite men followed about 30 minutes later. About 27,000 runners were in the field for the Patriots Day race.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced a temporary flight restriction over Boston.
Smoke hung over the neighborhood as police cleared the thousands of spectators who had jammed the route.
Joe Difazio, of Wakefield, Mass., was working on communications at the race and was near the explosion. He says there was one explosion and five seconds later there was another of the same intensity. It was at a barricaded area near the finish line.
"There were so many people in that area that they couldn't get ambulances in there. They were wheeling people out in wheelchairs," he said. "One guy had no legs. The bones was just sticking out... It was horrible."
Nancy Costa, a medical student from Reading, Pa., was running with her friend Jill Edmonds of Salem, N.H., when the explosions erupted.
"It was insane here. Everyone was running. I was right next to the explosion. It threw me," she said. "I never sprinted so fast after a marathon.
"The first (blast) threw me onto the ground. And everything went silent and then the second went off and I just covered my head and got up and started sprinting. Everyone was screaming and people were getting trampled. We finally found an open T (subway train) that just arrived in Wellington (station). We had to walk a few miles to find one open."
Kimberly DelGuzzi of Pittsburgh was waiting on Boylston Street for her friend to cross the finish line when she found herself pressed against a building, ducking for cover from the blasts.
"At first, I thought it was fireworks, but then I saw the smoke go up in the air," she DelGuzzi, who was standing between the two explosions. "Then, not even a minute later, the second one went off."
She described the scene as "mass chaos" and said, "Oh my God, it was loud."
"The explosions shook everything," she said, her voice still shaking 40 minutes after the bombs went off. "I saw runners down in the street. I saw people down on the sidewalk."
DelGuzzi, 41, has run numerous marathons but was not running in Boston. Her friend reported she was OK.
The final 100 meters of the race is lined with bleacher seating, reserved for race officials and invited guests. The area on Charles River, on the north side Boylston Street is open to the general public. At the corner of Hereford and Boylston Streets, there is a Boston EMS Medical Tent and a fire station.
The Mandarin Oriental hotel on Huntington has been evacuated. A hotel employee who did not provide his name said all businesses on the block had been evacuated as a precautionary measure.
There is relative calm in the streets, no signs of panic. A volunteer EMT said all resources public and private have been called in for response.
President Obama has been notified of the incident in Boston. His administration is in contact with state and local authorities. He directed his administration to provide whatever assistance is necessary in the investigation and response.
The New York Police Department has stepped up security around landmarks in Manhattan, including near prominent hotels, in response to at least one explosion near the finish line of the Boston marathon on Monday, said Paul Browne, deputy commissioner of the NYPD.
Browne told Reuters that New York police were re-deploying counter-terrorism vehicles around the city.