Boston Marathon bombing survivor, 2 Toronto men, killed in Dubai car crash

A college student who survived serious injuries in the Boston Marathon bombing was killed in a car accident in Dubai over the weekend, a spokesman for Northeastern University said Monday.
Victoria McGrath, 23, was killed Sunday in a car crash that killed three other people in Dubai. She was severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. (Facebook)

A college student who survived serious injuries in the Boston Marathon bombing was killed in a car accident in Dubai over the weekend along with two Canadians believed to be from Toronto. 

A spokesman for Northeastern university confirmed on Monday that Victoria McGrath, 23, and her roommate at university, Priscilla Perez Torres, were among those killed in the crash Sunday.

Cody Nixon, a Toronto boxer and world traveller, was also among those killed, his friends told CBC News. Another victim has been identified by his family as 27-year-old James Portuondo of Toronto. 

The National newspaper in the United Arab Emirates reported on the crash. The victims died when the Ferrari slammed into a lamppost and split in half around midnight local time. Global Affairs Canada confirmed that two of the victims were Canadians.

Cody Nixon, a Toronto boxer and world traveller, was among those killed in a deadly Ferrari car crash in Dubai, his friends told CBC News. (Instagram)

Crystal Lopresti, Portuondo's sister, said Portuondo and Nixon are cousins. In an email to CBC News Monday, she described Portuondo as a "beloved son, grandson, brother, brother-in-law, and uncle."

Lopresti said her brother and Nixon were on holiday.

The two women were on a personal trip and not studying abroad.

Boston Marathon Bombing survivor

McGrath received severe shrapnel injuries to her left leg from the first of two bombs placed near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. Three people were killed and more than 260 others were injured in the bombing.

Bruce Mendelsohn, who was attending a post-marathon party in a building overlooking the finish line, rushed outside to help and saw McGrath lying on the ground, bleeding heavily from her left leg. 

Mendelsohn said he tied a scarf or T-shirt he found nearby around her leg as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, a move McGrath's doctor later told him saved her life. Mendelsohn flagged down a firefighter, who carried McGrath away from the scene in what became one of the most widely used photographs from the bombing.

McGrath later tracked down her rescuers and formed friendships with them, Mendelsohn said.

"At the time, I was angry that anyone could do such a thing," Mendelsohn said of the bombing. "Now I'm angry that she's been taken from us."

A Northeastern spokesman said McGrath was scheduled to graduate this spring from Northeastern's school of business. She was originally from Weston, Connecticut.

The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi declined to comment. Northeastern president Joseph E. Aoun sent a letter Monday notifying the Northeastern community of the students' death.

'Devoted to helping others'

"She was devoted to helping others through leadership in student organizations and community service work," Aoun said of McGrath.

Torres, who was also scheduled to graduate this spring, came to Northeastern from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and was passionate about travel and working on issues related to nutrition and women's health, Aoun said.

J.P. and Paul Norden, brothers who each lost a leg in the bombings, posted a photo of McGrath on their Facebook page.

"Life can change in an instant...we know this only too well. Those who survived the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15, 2013 all had a special bond ... our hearts are heavy tonight after hearing that one of our fellow survivors lost their life in a car accident," reads a posting under the photo.

"A young energetic beautiful soul gone too soon...God bless you Victoria...until we meet again."

with files from CBC News


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