From Globe Correspondent Justin A. Rice: Nelson Pereira, 36, of Dorchester was limping out of a VIP tent in Copley square just before 5:30 p.m. when police finally told him he could head home.
Pereira, who was running the Boston Marathon for the first time to raise money for Leukemia, was running through Boston College when he said he heard the explosion. He took the Orange Line to Copley Square to get his bag with his stuff because the Green Line was shut down.
But police told him he couldn’t leave Copley Square and he said he had no cell phone in his bag.
“I know a lot of my family is trying to get a hold of me,” he said as him limped out of the tent.” So they don’t know if I’m alright or not and I heard that two people got killed and 25 people got hurt. We heard the explosion. I ran basically 20 something miles.”
When asked about the fact that he could have been at the finish line during the explosion he said: “That’s crazy, I’m smiling but that’s crazy."
Mayor Thomas. M. Menino is expected to brief reporters at 6 p.m.
RT @stevebruskCNN: President Obama will address the nation at 6:10pm from the White House briefing room
President Obama will be speaking at 6:10 p.m.
MT @globejustinrice: Runner bags going to be left on the street in Copley until dark,officials say. Then they will be moved to safe location
From the Globe's Michael B. Farrell and Erin Ailworth: The heavy volume of mobile phone calls around downtown Boston following explosions at the Boston Marathon has clogged cell service, blocking many from getting through to people at the scene.
“We are experiencing call blocking due to what’s happening,” said Mark Elliott, a Sprint spokesman. “The network is blocking calls because the number of calls coming in exceeds the capacity.”
He didn’t know what the exact volume of calls has been since the explosions occurred, but said many thousands of calls made at the same time can overwhelm cell towers in the area. “There’s no way the network can handle that kind of traffic,” he said.
There have been numerous reports of many people not able to get through to their family and friends at the marathon.
In a statement, AT&T said: “As we coordinate with local officials, customers in the area may be experiencing issues with wireless voice and data service due to a spike of network activity and related congestion. We recommend customers use text messaging for emergencies. We also advise customers to keep non-emergency calls to a minimum. To help, our temporary Wi-Fi turned up for the Boston Marathon will remain on for an extended timeframe.”
Elliott of Sprint said that mobile phone users should text the people they are trying to reach in the area instead of calling to free up the mobile networks for emergency uses.
Verizon Wireless, meanwhile, issued a statement, saying: “Verizon Wireless has been enhancing network voice capacity to enable additional calling in the Copley Square area of Boston. Customers are advised to use text or email to free up voice capacity for public safety officials at the scene. There was no damage to the Verizon Wireless network, which is seeing elevated calling and data usage throughout the region since the explosions occurred.”
RT @RAGreeneCNN: CNN editorial decision: We will now call what happened in Boston a terrorist attack