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"I would describe it as chaotic and surreal. You just don’t know what to feel, but immediately it was obvious what it was. I don’t think there was any confusion from the first second what was going on," he said.
Caryn Willardsen of Salt Lake City said the sound of the second blast hurt her ears and the ground felt like it moved.
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"I could see that legs were missing. There was a lot of blood. People were dragging their loved ones or whoever, their companions, farther away [from the blast]. One man tried to pick up a girlfriend wife or mother, but he picked her up and was trying to walk her out in the road away [from the blast] and her leg was not connected, it was dangling, and had to lay her down in the middle of the road," Willardsen said. "There was one woman who was on fire, people were screaming that her pants were on fire and a police officer came and pulled her pants off and all the way down the side of her leg was charred."
Wayne Cannon, a Salt Lake phyisican who ran the race with his wife Gwen, called the emergency medical response "amazing. "They had help there within a minute or two. There was chaos everywhere."
The Cannons were about 400 yards from the finish line when the first blast occurred and immediately left the course.
Celestia Carson of Salt Lake City also left the course before finishing her first Boston Marathon.
"I was a little slow today," she said. "Maybe that was a good thing."
Althea Luhm, a junior at Emerson College near the Boston Common, remained in her Cambridge home. Luhm described an increasingly stressful atmosphere in the Boston area.
"Even though everyone is calm, it’s a lot to take in," she said. "We’re becoming more and more worried. It’s like, we’re so thankful we’re here. I work downtown and am thankful I didn’t take that extra shift."
Reporters Christopher Kamrani, Robert Gehrke and Aaron Falk contributed to this story.
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