Boston bombing survivor: ‘I knew my legs were gone’

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BOSTON (CNN) — “You’re in Boston. You know stuff like this doesn’t happen.”

This thought crossed Jeff Bauman’s mind after he noticed a black backpack on the ground near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

It made him suspicious, he told a jury on the second day of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial. “I thought it was weird. If you are at the airport, if you see any unattended luggage, you notify authorities.”

But this was Boston.

Bauman nonetheless told a friend that they should move; the explosion came two seconds later.

“I saw a flash, heard like three pops and I was on the ground,” Bauman said from the witness stand Thursday. “At first I opened my eyes and saw the sky. The first thought was, that was a big firework.”

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when a pair of pressure cooker bombs exploded. A fourth person, an MIT police officer, was ambushed and killed in his patrol car three days after the bombings as Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, allegedly ran from police.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed after a gunbattle with police.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is now on trial, charged with 30 counts related to the bombings.

Tsarnaev’s attorneys admit that he carried out the attacks but argue that his participation was influenced by his slain brother.

‘I could see my bone’

Bauman’s ears were ringing, and everything was muffled, but he heard the screams.

The first bomb had exploded.

“I looked down and saw my legs, and it was pure carnage,” he told jurors. “I could see my bone.”

He kept repeating to himself, “This is messed up, this is messed up, this is messed up.”

Then the second explosion.

“We are under attack,” he thought to himself and all he wanted to do was call his mom.

Bauman testified about becoming aware of his injuries — burns, wounds on his back, and his legs.

“I knew my legs were gone. I know that instantly,” he said.

Several other survivors took the stand a day earlier, recounting their terror in the aftermath of the bombings.

With Bauman, as with the previous day’s survivors, the defense opted not to cross-examine them.

Aiding at the scene

Boston Police Officer Lauren Woods was not detailed to the marathon, but was nearby on a shoplifting call.

The prosecution called her to the stand to give her perspective as one of the many who were giving first aid.

When Woods saw people running by, screaming, she ran against the grain, toward Boylston Street, she said.

One of the first victims Woods came across was Lu Lingzi, a graduate student at Boston University.

Lu was vomiting profusely, Woods recalled. Others were already performing CPR on her, and the officer attempted to clear Lu’s airway.

“I smelled the residue of smoke,” Woods said. “Smelled like fireworks, cannons.”

The description of Lu’s wounds was graphic, but not unlike others the jury has heard so far. Blood, flesh, bone.

Paramedics arrived, and eventually told Woods the young woman was not going to make it and they had to move on to other people.

Lu became one of the three fatalities at the scene.

A ‘horror movie’

Other survivors who testified Thursday shared the details they remember from the bombings, sending the message that the toll was heavy.

It smelled like gunpowder, Alan Hern told the jury, and it “kind of felt like we were underwater.”

Hern’s wife — who was pregnant — was running the race. He found her uninjured, but hysterical from the explosions and ensuing chaos, he said. There were powder marks on her jacket.

Hern, a high school football coach, then went searching for his 11-year-old son, Aaron.

A figure covered in black soot and hair standing straight up caught Hern’s eye, and he knew it was Aaron, he testified. His son’s left thigh was cratered, mangled flesh and blood, Hern said.

“It was like something you’d see in a war movie,” he said. “His eyebrows were singed and his hair was sticking straight up.”

Another of Thursday’s witnesses, Roseann Sdoia, also referred to it as something out of a movie.

Before she hit the ground from the blast, she said, it registered in her mind that she had lost her leg.

“When I looked down, my leg was tucked under me, but blood was pouring out,” she told jurors.

In front of her lay a socked foot.

She started thinking — Did I wear socks today? She decided she hadn’t worn socks that day. It was someone else’s foot.

“It was almost like I was starring in a horror movie,” she said, “as was everybody else around me.”

Doctors had to amputate her leg below the knee.

CNN’s Ann O’Neill reported from Boston and Mariano Castillo wrote the story in Atlanta.

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