25 New Brunswickers safe after Boston Marathon bombings
Everyone on bus tour from Saint John escaped unharmed, says organizer Garth Millar
At least 25 New Brunswickers who attended the Boston Marathon are safely on their way back home after two bombs exploded near the finish line on Monday.
Two people were killed and 23 injured, police say.
Boston police said an incident at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum that was initially thought to be another blast was being treated as a fire and not believed to be related to the two bombings.
Garth Millar, of Saint John, who organized a bus tour to the marathon, told CBC News everyone in his group, which included a few people from Prince Edward Island, escaped unhurt.
"Luckily, we’re back on our bus and we’re exiting Boston, on our way back to our hotel in Tewksbury," he said.
A total of 42 New Brunswickers were registered to run in the marathon.
"We also know that a few other New Brunswickers that went down to the marathon are safe as well so we’re very relieved," said Millar.
His group was about one kilometre away from the finish line when they heard the two explosions, which they initially thought were gunshots, he said.
"It was certainly a chaotic situation," said Millar. "People were running towards us in tears and panic and they had their cell phones and trying to contact friends and relatives."
Police were quickly on the scene, diverting traffic, he said. "Shortly before we left the city, it would appear the Boston police put an evacuation order in place for the downtown core."
"It's hard to take in," said Millar, who grew up during the conflict in Northern Ireland.
"It’s very surreal to think that I went through all those troubles in Northern Ireland and saw no incidents whatsoever, yet you come to the Boston Marathon in 2013 and there’s two bombs on the course."
He described the deaths as "absolutely tragic."
"The sad part from the athletes' point of view is a lot of our runners on the bus had amazing times today. They had a fantastic experience, but, of course, the atmosphere on the bus is extremely subdued because the reality is that two people were killed doing something everybody loves to do and of course that kind of thing should not happen," he said.
"It's just a tragedy."