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New Yorkers returning from Boston recount the terror

Posted: 6:18 PM, Apr 16, 2013
Updated: 2013-04-16 18:18:16-04

With the tragedy fresh in the minds of many, New Yorkers who attended the marathon are now returning home and telling their own stories of survival.

“It was such a great day and then it was so surreal so bizarre out of body it felt like a dream,” said Russ Mezikofsky, who was in Boston taking photographs.

Mezikofsky took pictures of the stands and flags at the end of course where one of the bombs went off– just minutes before the twin explosions occurred.

It’s where he waited to watch his cousin finish the race at 26.2 miles but at the last minute he decided to move across the street, a decision that likely saved him.

“It was just this huge loud explosion and we didn’t know what the heck it was and then it was about 20 seconds later the second one went off down the street to our left,” Mezikofsky said.

In the very location where runners should have been rejoicing and reuniting with their loved ones there was instead confusion, chaos, screams and panicked cries for help.

“When the first bomb went off I was telling people that I’m not sure if it was limbs or if it was shrapnel flying in the air. It was just parts,” Mezikofsky said.

Linda Ottaviano has run the Boston Marathon three times herself, but this time was there in support of her friend.  She described a picture perfect day that suddenly turned into a nightmare, “I just heard this huge bang . . . some people had blood pouring from their head, a little boy had his leg hurt and the ambulances were right there almost instantaneously.”

Ottaviano is back home on Long Island now but says she’s stunned at how close she was to the explosions and remembers the terror she felt before reuniting with her friend.

“We hugged each other we cried very happy to see each other,” Ottaviano, embracing her friend after a nerve-wracking 2 and ½ hours.