Several Alaskans were in Massachusetts to run the Boston Marathon, where two people died and nearly two dozen others were injured Monday after two explosions at its finish line.
Bloody spectators were being carried Monday to the medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners. Boston police wove through competitors as they ran back toward the course, with police reporting two dead and 23 injured via the department's Twitter account slightly after noon Alaska time.
Boston Police Department Commissioner Edward Davis told reporters Monday that a third explosion had occurred at the JFK Library, at about 12:30 p.m. Alaska time, but later backed off from that statement, saying the library event was an unrelated fire. No suspects are in custody in the explosions.
A law enforcement official, citing an intelligence briefing, said cellphone service had been shut down Monday in the Boston area to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives.
But officials with Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel said there had been no such requests.
Sprint spokeswoman Crystal Davis said: "Minus some mild call blocking on our Boston network due to increased traffic, our service is operating normally."
Authorities have not identified what caused the explosives that erupted at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
A senior U.S. intelligence official told the Associated Press two more explosive devices, which were found near the scene of the previous blasts, were being dismantled.
It was not immediately clear what kind of devices had been found Monday. The official said the first two explosions on Boylston Street did appear to be bombs.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the findings publicly. He said it was not clear what the motive was or who may have launched the attack.
"There are a lot of people down," said one man, whose bib No. 17528 identified him as Frank Deruyter of North Carolina. He was not injured, but marathon workers were carrying one woman, who did not appear to be a runner, to the medical area as blood gushed from her leg. A Boston police officer was wheeled from the course with a leg injury that was bleeding.
About three hours after the winners crossed the line, there was a loud explosion on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the photo bridge that marks the finish line. Another explosion could be heard a few seconds later.
Don Kiely, a Fairbanks-based computer programmer who finished the marathon about half an hour before the explosions, told Channel 2 they occurred in a densely occupied area, with people near the blast reuniting with loved ones for much of the day since.
Jerome Ross, a member of the Skinny Raven Sports training group, says five or six Alaskans from the group were in Boston for the marathon.
“I saw the news flash and it’s just kind of incredible,” Ross said. “You assume something like this is not going to happen at a sporting event -- it hasn't had time to sink in. I wouldn’t go as far as to say shell shock, but it's definitely deeply unsettling.”
Ross says the marathon seems to be an unlikely target for any potential terrorist attack.
“I think people sort of see sport as a haven,” Ross said. “When someone is running in a race, politics is the furthest thing from your mind, and that's what makes it so unsettling and shocking.”
Boston Marathon records show that 41 Alaskans had registered to run Monday. Channel 2 has not received any reports of Alaskans being injured in the blasts.
Channel 2’s Mike Ross contributed information to this story.
Contact Chris Klint