BOSTON, Massachusetts (AFP) – At least six people were wounded when two large explosions struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, sparking scenes of panic, witnesses and US media said.
Witnesses said the streets were littered with debris and blood and described paramedics racing off with stretchers. TV footage showed an explosion sending up a white plume of smoke along the sidelines of the race.
CNN reported that at least six people were wounded. Local radio said the first explosion took place near a sports store and the second went off near a viewing stand. Local officials could not immediately be reached.
There were no immediate reports of any deaths, and it was not immediately clear whether the explosions were accidental.
Zara Bielkus, a 30-year-old spectator from Boston, said she heard two explosions seconds apart. Police then locked down the area.
“When we heard them, everyone looked at each other and went very quiet, and within a minute police came,” she said.
The Boston Marathon is one of the biggest annual athletic events held in the United States, with nearly 27,000 racers who must qualify to compete and tens of thousands of spectators.