At the finish, Wall, her husband and children raised their heads after a minute or two of silence. Beside them, a man was kneeling, looking dazed, blood dripping from his head. A body lay on the ground nearby, not moving at all. But in a landscape of blood and glass and twisted metal, they were far from alone.
“We grabbed each other and we ran but we didn’t know where to run to because windows were blown out so another man helped me pick up my daughter,” and they ran into a coffee shop, out the back door into an alley and kept going.
Meanwhile, the instincts of Dr. Martin Levine, a Bayonne, N.J., physician who has long volunteered to attend to elite runners at the finish line, told him to do just the opposite. Looking up at the plume of smoke, he estimated it was about two storefronts wide and quickly calculated how many spectators might be located in such an area.
“Make room for casualties — about 40!,” he yelled into the runners’ relief tent. “Get the runners out if they can!” And he took off. Just then the second bomb went off. He reached the site to find a landscape resembling a battlefield, littered with severed limbs.
“The people were still smoking, their skin and their clothes were burning,” he said. “There were lower extremity body parts all over the place ... and all of the wounds were extreme gaping holes, with the flesh hanging from the bones — if there was any bone left.”
Back in his cab, Belhoucet said he mistook the first blast for an earthquake. Fearing that a building might collapse, he considered running.
But then people came pouring down the street and he beckoned a family into the car. He grabbed the wheel, then turned momentarily to ask where they wanted to go.