RPI staff discuss Boston marathon explosions

Appert, Graham hold press conference following bombings in Massachusetts capital

ASSISTANT COACH NOLAN GRAHAM TALKS to local news sources about the bombings he and assistant coach Nolan Graham witnessed during the Boston Marathon.

On Monday afternoon, during the annual Boston Marathon, three explosions occurred near the finish line. According to Time, the bombing has led to two deaths and more than 130 injuries. While they were not injured, RPI men’s hockey coach Seth Appert and assistant coach Nolan Graham held a press release Tuesday afternoon to describe their experience.

According to Graham, the two witnessed civilians leaving the area “slowly, slowly, and then quicker.” Graham explained that they weren’t sure at that time exactly what had happened. When one reporter at the press release asked if they had seen anyone panicking and yelling, Graham said “No, not really. I mean, it was kind of just … nobody really knew what happened … we heard an explosion of some sort, but nobody really had a handle on what really happened.” Graham also described what the explosions sounded like from where they were: “It sounded like of like a garbage dumpster being dropped when it’s being cleaned up … but, it was nothing like an impact—we weren’t that close.”

At the same time, they were able to see the restaurant where the first two explosions occurred. Graham explained that the building was evacuated in a matter of seconds, but that “it wasn’t a panic inside the restaurant. Inside, it was pretty calm.” Appert described the faces of the hundreds who ran from the area as “definitely scared.” He added that the confusion was only made worse by the fact that those on foot were trying to flee the area while emergency teams and vehicles were trying to make their way to the scene of destruction. “I’ve never seen so many first responders in the same place at the same time,” he said.

Appert, after witnessing this, urged those around to get out. He explained that, as they did not know exactly what was happening, they could not be sure that further explosions would not happen. He also said that, during the evacuation, he and two other members of RPI’s sports staff were separated from their friends at the time.

At 4:50 pm on the afternoon of the incident, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis confirmed that a third explosion occurred near the JFK Library, according to Time. At 5:11 pm, cell service was shut down in Boston “to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives.”

Following the event, Vice President for Strategic Communications and External Relations William Walker sent an e-mail to the Rensselaer community stating, “A number of Rensselaer staff members were running in the marathon, but thankfully, none were in the vicinity of the explosions at the time they occurred, and all are safe.” He urged students who may have been affected to contact the Department of Public Safety or the Counseling Center. This was repeated by Class of 2014 Dean Louis Trzepacz, who forwarded an e-mail from Vice President of Student Life Timothy Sams, to “emphasize its importance.”

For more information about the incident, contact Sams via e-mail at samst@rpi.edu or Public Safety via the phone numbers listed at http://rpi.edu/dept/public_safety/.