Orange couple experiences Boston blast; safely returns home
An Orange couple returning home from Boston after two explosions rocked the city Monday afternoon, will certainly be relieved they made it home safely.
Brad and Amanda Britnell were in the airport Tuesday morning on their way back home. According to Brad Britnell, the busy airport had taken precautions and provided extra armed security.
‘There are people walking around with guns,” said Brad Britnell, of the security people.
However, both he and his wife are less stressed than the day before when two explosions occurred at the Boston Marathon which caused three deaths, and more than 140 injuries while sending the city into chaos. Another explosion occurred at the JFK Library, but authorities were unsure if the incidents were linked.
The blasts downtown near the finish line in Copley Square occurred just before 3:00 p.m. About 23,000 runners participated in this year’s Boston Marathon. Nearly two-thirds of them had crossed the finish line by the time the bombs exploded, but thousands more were still completing the course.
Amanda Britnell had just finished the marathon about 30 minutes prior to the explosion and was in the medical tent receiving treatment for low blood sugar. She was receiving IV treatment when she was suddenly rushed out. She later returned to her hotel with the IV still in her arm.
Brad Britnell was standing about 100 yards from the blast site, waiting on his wife,when the bomb detonated.
“I looked up and saw a cloud from it,” Brad Britnell said.
Witnesses described it as a “flash and then a giant boom.”
A few seconds later there was a second blast nearby.
“At first I was trying to process what was going on,” he said.
He thought for a few brief seconds it was part of the celebration associated with the marathon. Patriots’ Day commemorates the opening shots of the American Revolution, at Concord and Lexington in 1775. For many people it is a day of pride which comes with historical re-enactments, the Boston Marathon, baseball and a day off for schools and government employees.
But, Brad Britnell quickly determined it was much more and far worse.
Within a short time, the victims of the blast were brought into the tent for treatment. Amanda Britnell tried to contact her husband. Finally, a text was sent and she learned he was unharmed.
Together they returned to their hotel.
Amanda Britnell is no stranger to running. She finished 16th place in the Gusher half marathon in 2013 and won the same marathon in 2012. Her love of running was evident while at Lamar University in 2002-05 as a cross country and distance runner. She continued running and participated in two marathons in Houston before going to Boston.
To be able to participate in the Boston Marathon was going to be a “special” event, Brad Britnell said.
During a press conference Tuesday morning, officials said a multi-agency response including state and federal law enforcement agencies had been activated and investigating the cause of the explosions along the Boston Marathon route and elsewhere. Members of the FBI’s Boston Division and Boston Police Department have remained on-scene. The FBI has taken the lead in the investigation. The situation remains fluid, and it is still too early to establish the cause and motivation.
The FBI has set-up 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), prompt #3, for anyone who has information, visual images, and/or details regarding the explosions along the Boston Marathon route and elsewhere. No piece of information or detail is too small, according to a press release from the FBI.
The bombs that ripped through the crowd at the Boston Marathon, are said to have been were fashioned out of 6-liter pressure cookers and packed with shards of metal, nails and ball bearings to inflict maximum carnage. They were hidden in black duffel bags and left on the ground. However, investigators are unsure what was used to detonate the bombs.
The details on the apparently crude, but deadly explosives emerged as investigators appealed to the public for amateur video and photos that might yield clues.
Richard DesLauriers, FBI chief agent in charge in Boston, vowed during the press conference, “we will go to the ends of the Earth” to find those responsible.
Similar pressure-cooker explosives have been used in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, according to a July 2010 intelligence report by the FBI and Homeland Security. Also, one of the three devices used in the May 2010 Times Square attempted bombing was a pressure cooker, the report said.
The Pakistani Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the 2010 attempt in Times Square, has denied any role in the Boston Marathon attack.
Federal investigators said no one had yet claimed responsibility for the bombings.
DesLauriers also said during the press conference, investigators had received “voluminous tips” and were interviewing witnesses and analyzing the crime scene.
Boston Governor Deval Patrick added “contrary to earlier reports, no unexploded bombs were found.”
Investigators concluded the press conference by repeatedly appealing for any video, audio and photos taken by marathon spectators, even images people might not think are significant.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said investigators also gathered a large number of surveillance tapes from businesses in the area and intend to go through the videos frame by frame.
Davis, added authorities had received “no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen” at the race. On Tuesday, he said that two security sweeps of the route had been conducted beforehand.
“Our family is safe and we will continue to pray for all the victims,” Brad Britnell said.
Brad and Amanda Britnell, of Orange, were in Boston Monday so she could run in the Boston Marathon. They returned home Tuesday evening unharmed.