Nightly News   |  April 15, 2013

Bombs explode at Boston Marathon finish line

In an apparent act of terrorism, two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed at least two people and injured more than 100 others. President Obama addressed the nation, saying all Americans stand with the people of Boston. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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

>>> good evening. yet again tonight we are coming on the air to announce another apparent act of terrorism within our shores. and of all places, of all days this was patriots day in boston . the running of the boston marathon , a holiday in that city. and this happened at the finish line of the boston marathon . here is the view from ground level as recorded by the boston globe 's website at around the 4:09 finish mark. first one explosion off to the right. pedestrians, on-lookers between a building and the police line and then seconds later, less than 20 seconds, a second device detonates. there is bedlam. the race is stopped in midstream. the dead and injured were slowly triaged and transported. here is the latest based on what we know of the toll. at least two people reported dead from today's boston r marathon. at least 100 people have been treated for injuries thus far at three leading boston -area hospitals. late today from the briefing room in the west wing we heard from president obama . we don't have the president's comments quite yet?

>> every resource necessary to care for the victims and the families. i made clear that all americans stand with the people of boston .

>> we did, in fact, have the president's comments from the briefing room. that was within the last half hour. it has been an extraordinary day. not all initial reports turned out to be true, but the initial fears did. and that was that this was not one but two devices apparently placed there to do harm. we have our look at this this day so far from nbc's anne thompson . [ explosion ]

>> reporter: steps away from their ultimate goal, the unthinkable. marathon runners and spectators violently injured. [ screaming ] [ explosion ]

>> reporter: two explosions going off within seconds of each other at boston 's copley square .

>> at first it sounded like a cannon blast. it felt so strong it almost blew my hat off. everybody started running the other way. there were people running over towards them to help the injured. there were really bad, bad injuries. some people were very, very badly hurt.

>> reporter: the clock at the finish line read 4: 09:43 when the first explosion went off on boylston street . the second a block away. a place of celebration instantly transformed into a scene of chaos.

>> everything was normal. everyone was relaxed and happy. then the explosion right next to the finish line . and then within another maybe 30 seconds, another explosion. and then pandemonium struck.

>> reporter: now there was a race of a different kind -- to rescue people and save them.

>> i was carrying somebody who lost both of their legs in the explosion. it was a lot of them lost limbs. catastrophic.

>> wow. it was really, really loud. chaos.

>> reporter: the smoke could be seen from across the charles river . boston police called in all off duty officers to help. ambulances took 19 victims thomas ma -- to massachusetts general hospital oh.

>> this is a bomb explosion we hear about in baghdad, israel or some other tragic place in the world.

>> it was carnage. i saw a man who lost part of his leg. and all of the folks from the marathon were treating the runners and had to be called into action.

>> reporter: 27,000 runneres signed up for the race. those still on the course were diverted away from the finish line . authorities would not speculate on whether it was terrorism.

>> we are not being definitive on this now. you can reach your own conclusions based upon what happened.

>> reporter: the race famous for heartbreak hill today the site of just heartbreak. tonight every police agency in the state of massachusetts is sending help to boston as is the federal government . bostonians are told to stay indoors. if they have to go out to avoid large crowds. while authorities try to figure out who brought to such a violent deadly end the day that people in boston , brian, have always called the very best day.

>> absolutely. thank you very much