Southern Nevadans witness aftermath of Boston explosions - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Southern Nevadans witness aftermath of Boston explosions

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Tonya Gottesman finished the Boston Marathon about 15 minutes before explosions. (Facebook photo) Tonya Gottesman finished the Boston Marathon about 15 minutes before explosions. (Facebook photo)
Bonnie Loftus ran in the Boston Marathon Monday. Bonnie Loftus ran in the Boston Marathon Monday.

More than three dozen runners from southern Nevada were registered to take part in the Boston Marathon Monday. Plenty more went along to watch.

FOX5 spoke with several local residents who were at the race.

"It's insane. I mean, I passed right by where that bomb went off," said Tonya Gottesman, a runner from Las Vegas.

Gottesman says she's one of the lucky ones, having just crossed the finish line about 15 to 20 minutes before two explosions killed three people and injured more than 140 others.

Gottesman was back in her hotel room a block away when she heard the blast.

"I could see all the ambulances lining up after it happened. Obviously, I turned on the news. There were about 50 ambulances lined up," she described.

During the race, Gottesman recalls seeing police and security along the route. Another runner, from FOX5's sister station KPHO in Phoenix, described the crowd at the end.

"I mean, they are eight to 10 people deep between the runners and buildings, and there's no one checking bags," Bonnie Loftus said.

Two blocks from the scene, Las Vegan Anna Nicolau was working for a company supporting some of the runners and said everything changed in a moment.

"We just heard two explosions - maybe two or three seconds away," she said.

Nicolau and others just tried to get as far away as possible.

"It's amazing," Loftus said through tears. "You see the finish line. It's supposed to be this wonderful, emotional, happy time - and it doesn't feel that way today."

Nick Armstrong was leaving a Red Sox baseball game, when he encountered a crowd of spectators rushing away from the scene.

"I grew up in Las Vegas and never, ever expected me, at this point and time of my life, being in Boston at this point and experiencing something and just watching the reactions of people. I mean it broke my heart. It was one of the scariest and saddest things I've ever seen," Armstrong said by telephone Monday.

Monica Monteiro was also nearby. She and her fiance were on a train heading for the finish line when the explosions happened. They were stopped and forced off near Fenway Park.

"It's some people's first marathon, and they have to see blood on the ground. My heart is torn right now because I'm just glad we didn't leave our spot earlier to be there," she said.

Gottesman said it was her very first Boston Marathon, and one she won't forget – sadly, for all the wrong reasons.

"Just going past there, and walking past there a couple of days ago and seeing the finish line - taking a picture in front of the finish line - I can't believe it," she said.

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