A Fylde coast woman has spoken of the horrifying moment two bombs were set off during the marathon in Boston.
Belinda McDevitt Bronson, 29, was born in Cleveleys but has lived in Boston for the past six years.
She was at work in the John Hancock Tower – minutes away from the blast site – when the bombs were detonated at the end of Monday’s marathon.
And Mrs Bronson, who first came to the city as a student, saw firsthand the devastation and destruction a pressure cooker, packed with explosives and metal, and stuffed into a duffel bag, caused when it blew up on Monday afternoon, killing three people and injuring 176.
She said: “The day was just like any other stressful Monday.
“I was speaking with one of my colleagues at the eastern side of the building when out of nowhere we heard a deep boom.
“There was a few seconds to register it and ask, ‘What the hell was that?’ when another deep boom came.
“Looking outside all we could see were hundreds of people in the streets.
“Some of us quickly moved to the other side of the office, and from there we could clearly see the smoke at the finish line.”
In the panic and confusion, Mrs Bronson chose to leave the building and head on to the street.
She added: “Mobile phones weren’t working, so nobody was able to get through to loved ones.
“The words ‘bomb’ and ‘terrorist attack’ were being thrown around as we were all struggling to find out what happened. There was an eerie feeling of calm and panic – calm I suspect from the shock.”
The human resources manager tracked down her family, who are all safe and well. And said she believes, despite the horror of the attacks, the city will recover from the ordeal.
She added: “I know a lot people didn’t feel comfortable coming into the city yesterday and the anxiety level was definitely high. But Boston is a strong and proud town.
“The city and its people will come out of this even stronger and prouder.”
Boy, eight, named as youngest victim of the atrocity
One of the largest manhunts in US history is underway to catch those responsible for Monday’s Boston Marathon bombs.
Eight-year-old Martin Richard, from Dorchester, a suburb of Boston, has now been named as the youngest victim of the devices, which exploded 10 seconds apart at 3pm local time on Monday.
The blast which killed Martin also saw his five-year-old sister lose a leg and left his mother, 43-year-old Denise, with serious brain injuries.
Investigators discovered the bombs were pressure cookers packed with bail bearings and nails.
The explosions tore through the crowds gathered at the end of the 26.2 mile course and injured 176 men, women and children. Many of those injured in the blasts lost limbs.