Local residents describe harrowing experiences in Boston

by: Torie Wells Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Dozens of people from the Charlotte area took the first flight they could Monday out of Boston.

They told Eyewitness News they are thankful to be OK and even more grateful their family members are.

Many runners didn't have phones with them when the explosions happened, and many local families couldn't find their loved ones right away.

It started as a beautiful day in Boston. Cornelius Commissioner Jeff Hare said it was a perfect day for a marathon.

"A lot of courage out there you were seeing with people running, and then all of a sudden something like this happened," said Hare.

Hare said he had just finished running and was going through the exit shoot when he heard the explosions. At first he didn't know what it was, but the news spread fast.

"As we were going through the exit process, we started hearing rumors about bombs, explosions, people hurt," said Hare.

At first, he couldn't find his wife and said he was relieved when he finally did.

John Bartemus said he was waiting for his wife to cross the finish line any time when he heard what sounded like a cannon.

"You could feel it, hear it and then all of a sudden up by the finish line there was a bunch of smoke coming from one of the buildings," said Bartemus, from Cornelius.

He said she wasn't allowed to finish the race and was sent another way. But in the moments until she found a phone to call and let him know she was OK, it was hard to stay calm.

Forty minutes later, they finally met up.

Both men said that even as disaster was ensuing, they were amazed by how level-headed people remained and how quickly ambulances responded to help those in need.

They say they are thinking about those who were hurt, hoping they are OK.

If you have not been able to get in touch with a loved one who ran in the race, you are urged to call 617-635-4500.