Washington, April 18 (IANS) All the eight Indians who participated in the ill-fated Boston Marathon escaped unhurt from the deadly twin blasts at the finish line with one hailed as a hero for acting as saviour to the victims.
Dr. Vivek Shah, an Indian American orthopaedic surgeon at Boston's New England Baptist Hospital, was 25 yards away from finishing the 26.2-mile run when the twin blasts occurred.
Though concerned for his family - "my wife, my daughter, my parents and my sister (who) were all at the finish line" - Shah turned to help the victims, "I just tried to see if anyone needed any emergent care, if anyone was bleeding out. We put on some makeshift tourniquets."
"As soon as the area was stable with lots of personnel, I tried to find my family, because my biggest concern was that one of the faces that I'd see would be theirs," Shah told local WCVB Boston TV.
Thankfully, his family was fine. But they'd all come frighteningly close to tragedy.
Ajith Pai: Dallas area runner Ajith Pai had finished the 26.2-mile course in a personal best time of 3 hours, 2 minutes 16 seconds, about an hour before the explosions.
His father had cheered him at the finish line right at the international flags, where the first explosion occurred. Other family members including his mother and wife were walking toward the family gathering place when the blasts occurred.
"We got in touch briefly to know they were OK," Pai told dallasnews.com. "They were on the other side of the finish line. They wouldn't allow them to come where we were."
United at last with his family after some anxious time, Pai said: I'm happy for my family and sad for those that weren't so lucky," he was quoted as saying.
Ashok Nath: Even before Ashok Nath, 50, of Bangalore, who was participating in the Boston marathon for the fourth time, could celebrate his personal best of 2 hours 59 minutes, news of the blast reached him.
"I was in my hotel room and wanted to check the highlights on TV. Instead, I was shaken by the blasts that occurred close to the finish line," Nath told an Indian newspaper.
But by Tuesday life had returned to normal in Boston, but for added security. "Security had been beefed up in key areas, including the subways, but it was normal in the other parts," he said
Bhasker Desai: Seasoned runner from Mumbai, Bhaskar Desai, 60, too was lucky to have escaped unhurt as he finished with a time of 3 hours 46 minutes and 23 seconds, about half an hour before the twin blasts.
It was his second best timing in the Boston marathon, but the blasts left him shocked. Yet the Yorba Linda, California, resident insists the blasts won't stop him. "You bet I will be back next year," said Desai, an Indian Institute of Technology alum.
Four other Indians participating in the race were: Rohit Mitter, 33, New York; Deepti A Cole, 32, Brighton, Massachusetts; Ashish Andotra, 38, Marietta, Georgia; and Sumanth R Donthi, 33, Issaquah, Washington.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)