Bendigo athletes speak from hotel after Boston Marathon bombings

Related coverage: Deadly bombs rock Boston

Bendigo's Alan Buchanan has spoken of his shock and confusion after bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Mr Buchanan and his wife Jenny were two and a half blocks from the blasts near the marathon's finish line after they finished the event just half an hour earlier.

The Buchanan's initially thought the blasts were gas explosions and continued to their hotel, where they were told of the bombings.

"(We're) pretty good, we were about two and a half blocks away when the bombs went off," Mr Buchanan said.

"We just heard two explosions about 10 seconds after each other and very few of the people that were around us were alarmed at that stage because we just heard them and couldn't see anything.

"We heard the blast and thought 'that's a bit odd' then we went past a triage tent which were all in a row. And while we were going through there some of the guys rapidly put their sirens on.

"It wasn't until we got back to our unit, which was probably a 15-minute walk. We went downstairs...they had the TV on down there and we realised the significance of the event.

"When we got home and saw what was on the TV we understood the seriousness of the event.

"I think the locals we've spoken to are thinking it's a bit crazy this event and are hoping it's not having an adverse effect. 

"People just can't believe that this has actually happened, they're somewhat disgusted, in a state of shock.

"There is a state of shock and disappointment and frustration that this event has actually happened."

The couple's son Andy, in Bendigo, said the morning had been a busy one fielding calls from concerned relatives.


Minister of Foreign Affairs Bob Carr on Australians in Boston


"The phone's been off tap just calls from all relatives and that kind of stuff. Everyone always thinks the worst but it's just good to see they're ok," he said.

Fellow runner John McGrath said he was relieved his friends were ok and that terrorism was something marathon participants were warned about.

"I really am appalled at how it's all come about. And I feel so sorry for all the athletes and the spectators over there. It's just a terrible thing," he said.

"Alan, Jenny and I did the New York Marathon in 2008 and we were warned in 2008 by the organising committee not to accept... any drink or food or anything like that from people in the crowd because they were concerned about spiking and that sort thing.

"To the extent of what's happened in this case it's terrible. There are lots of hiding places for these sorts of things."

The event was rocked by the explosions as runners crossed the finish line just after 5am Australian time. Television footage shows two explosions occurring metres from each other near Copely Square.

At least three people, one an eight-year-old boy, are confirmed dead with reports that more than 120 people have been injured.

A statement on the race’s website cited the sources of the blasts as bombs, and said officials were working with law enforcement to understand what exactly had happened.

A senior US intelligence official said two more explosive devices were found near the scene where the two bombs detonated earlier. There are reports one was found underneath a grandstand. Both devices have been detonated safely by authorities.

Public transport was shut down and mobile-phone service in the area was disabled to prevent the remote detonation of any other devices.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr said today the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had not changed its advice for Australians travelling to the United States.

''We are hopeful that no Australians are among those injured or dead,'' he said.



 Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has urged people not to jump to conclusions about the attack.

"We will find out who did this. We'll find out why they did this," he said.

"Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice."

Anyone concerned about family and friends in Boston should call the DFAT hotline on 1300 555 135.

Bendigo runners John McGrath and Jenny and Alan Buchanan.

Bendigo runners John McGrath and Jenny and Alan Buchanan.


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