Local runners safe
All the Lowcountry runners who ran the Boston Marathon are safe following explosions at the race's finish line Monday:
From Hilton Head Island:
Information hotlineA phone number has been set up for relatives looking for information about runners: 617-635-4500.
Phone lines in Boston were jammed in the explosions' immediate aftermath, but runners and others used social media -- and their phones, when calls get through -- to let friends and family know they are OK.
Jeff Garske of Hilton Head Island was about 300 yards from the finish line, waiting for his wife, Donna, when the explosions went off. She was about a half-mile from the finish line.
"I saw and heard a big explosion and a plume of smoke go off, scattering people in the process," he said by phone Monday afternoon.
"Five to 10 seconds later, another explosion close to me went off, and again a big plume of smoke and a fireball, and at that time a lot of chaos happened. Some limbs were taken off of people; a couple were dead at scene."
Beaufort's Michael Frederick sent a Facebook message about what he saw:
"I had crossed the finish line just before the explosions. I heard a large bang, and there was a lot of smoke. In the crowds that was all I got. There are sirens and some panic, but I didn't stay around. Cellphones are not working for me."
Robbie Sofaly of Beaufort is in Boston with his girlfriend, Danielle Faure, and her mother, Chantal, who was competing.
Chantal Faure finished the race about five minutes before the explosions, and the three were at a family tent several blocks away, Sofaly said by phone.
"A lot of people there didn't know what was going on, but once we got closer to Boylston Street, where the explosions were, there were emergency vehicles everywhere," he said. "You could tell it was serious."
Train service was shut down, so they walked to their hotel and intend to stay out of downtown until they leave today, Sofaly said.
"It's insane," he said. "We could see runners were in shock."
Denice Davis was near a Westin hotel close to the finish line and had just gotten into a cab when the explosions went off.
"Then, the first one happened," she wrote in a Facebook message. "I knew right away it was bad. People started running. The second one came soon after, and then we were stuck and all of the police and first-responder vehicles poured in.
"It was awful."
A phone number has been set up for family members looking for information about runners. Call: 617-635-4500.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.