16 April 2013
Two explosions struck the Boston Marathon on Monday, turning a festive event on Patriots’ Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts, into a horrific tragedy.
The runners were crossing the finish line when a powerful blast occurred behind spectators and a row of flags, sending a cloud of smoke almost 15 metres into the air.
The explosion ripped through crowd-control barricades, knocking down several people and throwing onlookers as well as the approaching runners into blind panic.
Three people were killed and over 100 injured in the blast. Two South Africans were reportedly among the injured.
International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said on Tuesday that 25 South Africans had registered for the marathon.
“Our missions in the US are checking if more South Africans were affected by the explosions. We continue to monitor and check with hospitals and authorities,” Monyela said.
He said his department would provide consular services to the South Africans in Boston.
The international community has condemned the bombings which have forced many US cities to step up security.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said the bombing “is all the more appalling for taking place at an event renowned for bringing people together from around the world in a spirit of sportsmanship and harmony.”
Ban called the Boston Marathon explosions “senseless violence”.
“For now I just wanted to say that my thoughts are with everyone in Boston,” Ban said, expressing his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishing those wounded a speedy recovery.
While some US media and experts started to use the phrase “terrorist bombings”, President Barack Obama remained cautious and avoided calling the blasts a terror attack.
Obama said his government did not yet have “all the answers” about the Boston explosions, but vowed to hold all those behind them accountable.
He said the government had taken steps to beef up security across the country.