An eight-year-old boy waiting at the finish line to give his father a hug was among three people killed and more than 144 injured when two explosions rocked the Boston Marathon in the worst terrorist atrocity since 9/11.
Martin Richard died after bombs hidden in rubbish bins were detonated within seconds of each other during the Patriots’ Day bank holiday yesterday, sending terrified runners and spectators fleeing for their lives and leaving a scene of 'unspeakable horror'.
Boston police closed off the city as a ‘danger zone’ as witnesses described seeing body parts flying through the air and shoes that 'still had flesh in them' in an attack that has shocked the world.
At least 17 of the injured are in a critical condition and it is thought as many as 30 victims may have needed amputations or major corrective surgery on maimed limbs.
At least eight of the wounded are thought to be children, including a two-year-old boy who suffered a head injury.
Today, as the United States remained on full alert, President Barack Obama vowed to hunt down the culprits and 'hold them accountable'.
In London, Scotland Yard confirmed security arrangements were being reviewed ahead of Baroness Thatcher’s funeral tomorrow and Sunday’s marathon.
Video footage showed an explosion going off in the heart of the crowd that had lined the streets of the Massachusetts city yesterday to watch the famous sporting event.
After the blasts, two more suspicious devices were found in the city’s Mandarin Oriental and Lenox hotels. Both were evacuated and the suspected bombs dismantled.
According to the Boston Globe, Martin Richards, from Dorchester, Massachusetts, may very nearly have cheated death after walking out to embrace his father Bill Richard as he went to cross the finishing line.
But when Mr Richard walked on, the youngster turned back to rejoin his mother and two of his siblings just as the first bomb exploded.
His six-year-old sister lost a leg in the blast and his mother Denise is in hospital after undergoing brain surgery. Martin's older brother, believed to be in the fifth grade, escaped injury.
According to 7News, a candle was lit outside the family home and the word 'Peace' written on the pavement.
Mr Richard is understood to be a popular community leader in the Boston suburb. Martin was a keen baseball player and was a member of Savin Hill Little League team.
On Twitter, Maeve O Brien called him ‘the sweetest little boy I’ve ever met.’