NBC News   |  April 15, 2013

Boston runner recounts 'scariest thing I've ever seen'

Among the runners in the 2013 Boston Marathon was Dan Mercurio, a 25-year-old Boston native, who recounts to NBC News' Ann Curry of crossing the finish line seconds before the explosions struck and the "very nerve-wracking" aftermath.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> has also spoken with a runner who crossed the finish line just seconds before the explosion.

>> among the runners in today's marathon was 25-year-old dan macurio.

>> i crossed the finish line probably 20 or 25 seconds before everything happened. i whipped around and saw, you know, a very thick, gray smoke billowing up and quickly up 50, 60 feet in the air. the barricade in front of it pretty much blown off where it was stationed.

>> did you see casualties?

>> you know, from where i was standing, i honestly after that initial blast, i could see that there were people hurt. there was blood. i didn't stop to really, you know, figure it out. there was a lot of smoke, too, initially. so, you know, it was hard to kind of see. by the time everybody kind of came to the second explosion went off. we all kind of just turned and tried to get out of the area. i was running with a friend of mine and i just told her to run. we weren't sure if it was just the beginning of something happening.

>> what were you thinking as this was going on? what were you feeling?

>> my initial reaction is it was some kind of attack. the way that -- how loud it was. the way it exploded. i mean, it was huge explosion. it shook the ground. everyone was screaming and running, a lot of crying. it was pretty clear, pretty quickly it was something very, very serious and very bad.

>> i understand you've lost some of your hearing or you did initially?

>> yeah. the initial explosion, the first one that went off, i'm still having a little bit of ringing in the left ear but it really caught everybody off guard and i couldn't really hear until we got three or four blocks down the street and can bother me a little bit.

>> i can't help but feel you seem to be in a state of shock .

>> there's really no other way to describe it. i don't even know what to tell you. it was one of the -- you know, it was the scareiest thing i have ever seen. we were 30, 40 yards away from a bomb that went off in boston . there have been reports that one of the casualties was an 8-year-old boy. i mean -- i don't even -- i don't even know how to respond to that. you know? unbelievable.

>> the president said today, we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable. do you have a reaction to that as someone who's so close to these explosions?

>> no, i mean, i certainly hope so. i watched the president's briefing. i think that he said all the right things and i hope they do find out quickly.

>> are there any words for the person behind this or the people behind it?

>> it's a difficult question. you know? you just hope that eventually is eventually served. it's very tough. it's absolutely senseless. boston , i've always -- i've grown up here. i've lived here. you know? since i was in eight grade. i never felt unsafe here. things became very real very quickly. i mean, this is boylston street , this is, you know, newberry street. the heart of boston . for this to happen on a day like today, honestly, the best day of the year in this city, there are really no -- i don't -- there are no words to describe. it's pretty devastating right now.

>> did you call your mother?

>> right away, yep. yeah. they were actually in town. they -- they saw me on beacon street probably, you know, 15 minutes before all this happened. and they were not initially picking up their phone. i was panicking. i didn't know how widespread this was. i was panicking them and telling them that i was okay but luckily i was able to get a hold of my dad and the rest of the family and everybody's fine, thank god.