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UPDATED: Three dead, 140 injured in Boston Marathon blasts

US media outlets are reporting that an eight-year-old was killed in the explosions.

Image: @samfbiddle via Twitter

Initially posted 20.07; Updated 07.00

TWO EXPLOSIONS CAUSED devastation at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon, resulting in three deaths and dozens more injuries.

US media outlets, citing a law enforcement source who was briefed on the investigation, are reporting that an 8-year-old boy is among the dead.

Authorities confirmed that at least three people died in the explosions. About 140 more were injured. It is understood that at least 15 people are in a critical condition and many more have injuries described as “serious”. Injuries range from shrapnel wounds to limb amputations.

“The number of injuries is an unfolding issue, we will not have hard figures until this morning,” police commissioner Ed Davis told reporters at a press briefing at 1.45am (Irish time). He added that the blasts were powerful so there were “serious, serious injuries”.

The explosions occurred near the grandstand area at Boylston Street about four hours and nine minutes after the marathon began.

The police chief again dismissed rumours that a suspect is in custody.

“There is no suspect at Brigham and Women’s Hospital,” he said, adding he wanted to “fix” those erroneous reports. It has been confirmed that 20 people are being treated there.

“There are people we are talking to,” he confirmed. Earlier reports suggested there was a person of interest being treated at the medical centre.

FBI investigator Rick DesLauriers, who will lead the joint terrorism investigation, said that he could not offer comment on “specific leads”.

“There is an investigative activity ongoing. Again, it is a very active and fluid investigation at this time.”

Speaking from The Westin Hotel, Davis said federal, state and local authorities will ‘turn every rock over to find those responsible for this cowardly act’.

Children hurt

A number of the victims of the blasts are minors. Boston Children’s Hospital has confirmed that it is treating 10 patients.

According to Reuters journalist Edith Honan, the injury list includes leg traumas, fractures and two head injuries to a 14-year-old and a two-year-old.

Another of the injured is a student at Boston University.

Earlier reports that “multiple explosive devices” have been found in the city were also dismissed by Davis. He said all packages, bags and other items discarded by runners in the area are being treated as suspicious and are being examined by explosive experts.

“Anything that is unattended is being treated as a potential problem,” he explained. “We are methodically going through the area.”

Massachusetts General Hospital asked all staff to remain at work as it deals with the emergency. Doctors there are treating 29 patients and the hospital’s Incident Command System has been activated. It is understood that security has been provided at all area hospitals.

Some 23,000 runners took part in the race, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathons.

Stay calm but vigilent

Authorities have asked the public to stay at home and to avoid congregating in large groups tonight.

They described the situation as “ongoing”. Governor Deval Patrick said it will “not be business as usual” in the city tomorrow either. He explained security will be ramped up and urged residents to be extra vigilant.

He asked citizens to report suspicious activity and to be patient as there will be random security checks of parcels, backpacks and other items.

He thanked residents for the “extraordinary kindness” being shown to runners, neighbours and visitors “shaken by this experience”.

“We are going to get through this,” he added.

A third incident at JFK Library was confirmed by police earlier today but it has now been described as “fire related”. It is not thought to be linked to the race explosions. There were no injuries in the fire.

Addressing the American people from the White House, US President Barack Obama pledged that authorities would find out who carried out the attack.

“The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight,” he said adding that it was a “senseless loss”.

Mayor of New York Bloomberg also said the city’s thoughts and prayers were with the City of Boston.

Security in Manhattan has been ramped up. The Mayor’s office said NYPD is “stepping up security at hotels and prominent locations in NYC until more is known about the Boston Marathon”.

TheJournal.ie understands that 50 people with Irish addresses had registered to participate in the race. The Department of Foreign Affairs said the Irish consulate was making contact with emergency services in the area but information gathered so far indicates that no Irish citizens were caught up in the blasts.

An Irish eye-witness described the scene at the line as “chaos” with people “stampeding” to escape the area.

Scotland Yard in London said it would be reviewing its security arrangements ahead of the city’s marathon this weekend.

Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry, event commander for the London Marathon, said: “A security plan is in place for the London Marathon. We will be reviewing our security arrangements in partnership with London Marathon.”

Here is the initial broadcast of the explosions from CNN:

Updated: So far no reports of Irish caught up in marathon blasts

Read more coverage of the Boston Marathon explosions>

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