Indian-American orthopaedic surgeon Vivek Shah had a narrow escape in the twin blasts at the Boston Marathon but that did not stop him from rushing to the aid of several others wounded in the tragic incident that left three dead and injured over 170 people.
Recalling the horror of the blasts, Shah said he was just 25 yards away from the finish line of the 26.2-mile marathon when the first of the two bombs exploded to his left.
Hearing the loud bang, Shah said he was not sure "whether it was the fireworks gone bad or something that was supposed to happen," Shah was quoted as saying in a CNN report.
Shah and his running mates continued running toward the finish line and knew something was not right when the second blast occurred.
"Then, after the second explosion went off, we knew something was wrong because all of the spectators and fans started running away from us," Shah said.
Shah's wife, daughter, parents and sister were standing close to the finish line and instinctively he ran toward where the first explosion happened.
"My whole family was on that side where the explosions had gone off," Shah said.
"So I started running towards where the bombs had gone off to check on my family and see if there was anything I could do to help."
He said all his training and experience as an orthopaedic surgeon did not prepare him for the mayhem that he saw on the sidewalk of the Boston marathon route where the first bomb exploded.
He said he instinctively looked around to help the wounded.
"People with traumatic amputations, one leg, both legs, it just looked like everyone was in shock. If you look into the victims' eyes, they didn't really know where they were. I've never seen that quantity of injury in one place," said Shah.
"I just tried to see if anyone needed any emergent care, if anyone was bleeding out. We put on some makeshift tourniquets," he said.
The scene after the blasts is "nothing that you can ever describe," he said.
"In all of my medical training, I've never seen anything like the amount of trauma I saw yesterday on the sidewalk there."
Shah said within minutes many first responders and volunteer physicians rushed to the sidewalk and began helping the wounded.
"I've never seen anything like it in terms of the quickness of the response to that tragedy." Shah said he is grateful that his family was fine but they were "frighteningly" close to tragedy.
"They didn't leave the area even though they were being told to evacuate. They were just hoping that I would show up. They were only 25 yards from where the last blast was," Shah said.