April 16, 2013 at 8:40 AM ET
Dr. Allan Panter felt the first blast as he waited at the finish line to cheer his wife as she completed her 16th Boston Marathon. He saw the people immediately next to him drop.
Incredibly, “I was just standing there without a scratch,” the emergency room physician recalled Tuesday for TODAY’s Matt Lauer.
“I realized that all the people to what had been to my left had gone down, and just started helping with the other bystanders, pulling people, actually, apart because they were laying in a pile, basically with mangled limbs and started working on each person as you could,” he said.
Panter said one victim he helped was a man who lost both legs beneath the knees.
“He was pretty much as you would describe in shock,” he said. “He was mumbling words but not coherently.”
Meanwhile, his wife, Theresa Panter, was frantically trying to make sure her husband of 30 years was safe. She was directed along with other runners to a safe area but it took more than an hour before she reached her husband.
“I was grabbing phones where they had held us and no calls. We couldn’t get any calls out,” she said. “So I didn’t know. It was upsetting.”
Her husband praised the volunteers who immediately jumped in to help the victims.
"The sidewalk volunteers, instead of running away, they stopped and fell and worked the people,” he said.
Panter said he also was impressed with the team and supplies he encountered in the medical tent.
“It was all that an ER physician could ask for. There were cots, IVs, nurses and physicians,” he said. “It was well prepared.”