GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Several West Michigan residents were in Boston when two bombs exploded near the crowded finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people -- one an 8-year-old -- and injuring more than 100 others in a terrifying scene of broken glass, smoke and severed limbs.
24 Hour News 8 has not yet heard of any from West Michigan injured in the race.
Holly Shoemaker from Grand Rapids ran the race and heard the explosion from nearby: "I was on the same street probably a block away, and all of a sudden there was a giant explosion, sounded like a -- I don't know -- a bomb."
Nicole VanderLaan from Kentwood now works in Boston and witnessed the devastation: "People were screaming for their life, running for their life. The barriers that keep people off the street were being thrown down, runners were jumping off the barriers."
Greg Meyer of Grand Rapids, the last American man to win the Boston Marathon, was in Boston and told 24 Hour News 8 that he and his family members are safe. "Your first reaction, because we are so protected in America, I thought they blew a transmitter. But then all of a sudden you look at the cops and you could see -- holy God. And off they went. It was immediate."
Jeramy and Tiffany Duffield from Greenville were in Boston for the Marathon. The couple were less than a half mile away from the finish line when the explosion happened. They are both OK.
Don Kern, race director of Metro Health's GR marathon, is in Boston. He wrote on Facebook: "We're ok. Somebody tell my mom. Can't get a call out." He later posted: "In Boston. Francine finished 5 min before the explosions. We both heard them. She was in the med tent with leg cramps when it happened. We are fine. Someone post here on the status of other GR and Holland people please."
Timothy Sochor of Kalamazoo ran the Marathon and is safe. He finished the race at 2:15 p.m. and had already met his wife at the Boston Commons when they heard the blasts. "I heard the second explosion go off, an I thought, 'that was strange.'"
Drew Farrington returned to Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Cascade Township Monday evening after running in the race. He said he was in a restaurant about a half mile from the finish line when the explosions happened. He said authorities locked down the restaurant and he was allowed to leave after about 20 minutes through a side door. It was then he saw people headed away from the explosion site. "Just saw everybody walking around stunned, really." He said the people he saw were more shocked than panicked.
Kim LaFoy, previously of Caledonia but lately of Boston, said she watched some of the festivities earlier in the day. She said she heard the blasts as she entered her office building about two blocks away, but initially thought they were thunder. She was stranded in her office building because much of the city's transportation was shut down.
Cindy Hickey in Kentwood said her boyfriend, Benedikt Schorner, ran the race and that she couldn't get ahold of him just after the explosions. "I couldn't reach him and I couldn't reach anybody he knew anything. It was just very scary." But she received a call from Schorner soon, telling her that he was OK.
"A number of Kellogg employees ran the Boston Marathon and we are relieved that they are all safe. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic events in Boston," according to Kellogg Company spokesperson Kris Charles.
There were 560 Michigan runners in the race, according to the Boston Marathon website:
- Grand Rapids: 26
- Kalamazoo: 19
- Holland: 14
- Wyoming: 3
- Kentwood: 3
- Battle Creek: 2
- A full list of Michigan runners in the race here via RunMichigan.com (pdf)
Grand Valley State University terrorism expert Jonathan White said it's too soon to speculate on who was responsible for the bombings and that to do so would be a "force multiplier" -- the operative phrase to describe the physiological impact of an attack.
- Flights are on schedule at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Deputy Executive Director Phil Johnson said they have not received orders to tighten security.
- "Amtrak Police Department is increasing security at Amtrak stations," according to an Amtrak news release. Trains are operating on schedule.
Police request photos
Authorities have requested that anyone who took photos in the area of the explosions, even hours before they happened, to send the photos to the Boston Police Department. They hope the photos may help in the investigation .
Family victim hotline: 617.635.4500
American Red Cross Safe and Well - "After a disaster, letting your family and friends know that you are safe and well can bring your loved ones great peace of mind. This website is designed to help make that communication easier." **Note: If the American Red Cross site does not display on Internet Explorer, try using another browser.
A professor who participated in the anti-apartheid movement said Nelson Mandela taught the importance of struggle and sacrifice.
Global civil rights icon Nelson Mandela, whose legacy is ending South African apartheid, has died.
The case of a man accused of the involuntary manslaughter of three children who died in a February apartment fire is ready to go to a jury.