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New Zealanders at scene of Boston bombing

A number of New Zealanders were close by when two bombs devastated the area around the finish line of the Boston Marathon.


Boston Marathon

A NUMBER of New Zealanders were close by when two bombs devastated the area around the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Three people have been confirmed killed in the blast, with well over 100 injured when two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the finish line of the famous race.

Former Christchurch woman Elizabeth Hadfield had just finished running and was walking to get water when the explosions hit.

“The explosion was literally right behind me … within seconds there was another one,” she told Fairfax NZ.

“The sound of it was just piercing. It was just so loud. It was absolutely horrendous.

“I sprinted to the nearest open park. We were worried that if there were two explosions there may be more.”

Athletics New Zealand said there were 45 New Zealanders taking part in the race, with no reports of any of them being injured.

Wellington’s Andrew Wharton had also just finished the race, and was in a hotel room with his wife when the bombs went off.

”We heard two loud bangs about three or four seconds apart. I looked out the window and saw people running and realised something had happened.”

”We went up to the roof of our hotel and I could see the aftermath below … there was a lot of blood, a lot of people lying everywhere, others were crying and didn’t know what to do. It was chaos.”

”It’s something I never thought I would see and something I never want to see again. It was just horrific.”

They were evacuated from the hotel.

”If left in my running gear. All we were able to grab was our passports and travel documentation.”

Wharton and his wife were left ”wandering aimlessly” around the streets for about an hour before they found a taxi that took them to Woburn, about 15km out of the city.

Former Alliance Party MP Laila Harre told TV3’s Firstline that she had finished the race five to 10 minutes before the explosions.

“I was in the finishers area at the time so I heard them and I saw smoke but I wasn’t in the immediate area.”

Harre said she heard two separate bangs, the first of which was “extremely loud and deep sounding”.

“People looked at each other…..we looked kind of bewildered and unsure about what had happened or what to do.

”There was no sense of panic, no immediate reaction by police or security people in the area. And it was all incredibly calm.”

“Now everyone is clearing the central city. I called my husband. He was on a train and he’s been evacuated from the train,” she told Radio Live.

“This place is amazing and the whole city had turned out to support the runners. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“It’s a terrible tragedy if something has happened at the end of this spectacular race.”

New Zealand Olympians Nick Willis and Kimberly Smith had been running in Boston the day before the marathon.