Two large explosions ravaged the grounds of the Boston Marathon yesterday, leaving 3 people dead and over 170 injured in the city.
Angelica Vasquez, a 22-year-old political science student at Boston College and Sudbury, Mass. resident attended the marathon and witnessed the horror of the bombings firsthand. Vasquez and her boyfriend Vlad Yashaev, 25, sat right across the street from the explosion in the VIP section at the finish line.
"We got to our bleacher seats and we stood in the middle section and all of a sudden we heard a huge bang that felt like an impact or slight jerk. Everyone was confused," Vasquez told The Christian Post, describing the attack when it first hit.
She initially assumed fireworks were going off, but realized she was wrong when her boyfriend and former Israeli soldier grabbed her and told her to wait as he anticipated another explosion.
"Then all of a sudden the second bomb went off and glass from the buildings shattered everywhere and that's when I knew we were under attack," she explained. "The police in the streets were yelling for everyone to move and get out and everyone rushed off the bleachers, but my boyfriend said to stay put."
Yashaev's experience as an Israeli soldier led him to believe that if this was a terrorist attack, another bomb might be set off in the direction people were fleeing. After waiting it out and taking some video footage, they eventually left the finish line area.
"We sat there and my boyfriend grabbed his phone and starting taking a video and when everyone left, we got off the bleachers and went into a corner," said Vasquez. "That's when an officer [told us] to move because they found another bomb in the area."
Police and military were rushing down the street knocking down the rails and flags. Vasquez describes the scene as utter chaos with people running around terrified. She even witnessed a young boy covered in blood being carried by a man into an ambulance. Even with the confusion, authorities on the scene responded quickly and had the victim's "best interests at heart," she said.
Vasquez and Yashaev made it to a nearby hotel, where management told them they could not stay due to the area being on lockdown. The couple then walked about two blocks away and sat in a corner until they figured that public transportation was not the best option for getting back to their car. Instead, they traveled two hours on foot to their vehicle.
Vasquez has vowed not to let the horrific experience scare her or deter her from visiting or staying in Boston again.
"Boston is an extremely resilient city! I lived in New York during 9/11 and the support and pride that [Boston] has now is right up there with New York on that day [the towers fell]," she said. "This moment will not paralyze us or instill fear of enjoying anything in this city."