TODAY   |  April 21, 2013

He survived Boston bombing, then saw Texas blast

“I was obviously shocked to see a second explosion,” said Joe Berti, who had just crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off last week. Days later, he was driving in Texas when the West, Texas, fertilizer plant exploded. He said he feels blessed he’s still here. TODAY’s Lester Holt interviews Joe Berti and his wife, Amy.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> joe berti ran the boston marathon , finishing the race just moments before the first bomb exploded. his wife amy was at the finish line that day. then on wednesday, he was driving near the town of west, texas, the day the fertilizer plant exploded and captured this image on his cell phone. joe and amy berti are with us this morning. good morning. good it see both of you.

>> good morning.

>> joe , you guys separated during the race. joe , you finished ahead of amy , correct?

>> yeah, i just had gone through the finish line about 30 seconds before the first explosion.

>> and did you know where amy was at that point?

>> i wasn't completely sure. we were supposed to meet at a restaurant afterwards, but i was concerned that she'd walked to the finish line to watch me run through.

>> and, amy , you were actually there as the bomb went off. in fact, very close. there's a photo in which we actually see your proximity to the explosion. tell us what you saw and felt and heard.

>> a girlfriend and i, katie, were actually closer to that bomb than we ever imagined we were watching our husbands finish and went to see them at the end and it went off taking us completely by surprise and just the shock, you know, the shock of what on earth is going on. it was terrifying.

>> you were unhurt but there were other people. you saw some badly injured people and some people who didn't even realize how badly hurt they were.

>> that's correct. the woman beside me, her leg below the knee was just -- i think it may have even been gone, and then she lost all the fingers on her left hand and just -- i don't believe she realized that that was the case.

>> i know you two were trying to meet up. you couldn't find each other. there was a natural worry. eventually you end up at the hotel and see each other. tell us about that reunion.

>> it was the worst hour of my life, and, you know, looking for him in the medical tents, not knowing if he had survived that blast it was between joe and i where it went off and so i honestly didn't know if he was okay for a full hour. and it wasn't until i came into that hotel room where that sense of relief and gratefulness that we had both made it. miraculously unscathed.

>> i can't imagine. and then, joe , fast forward two days later you're driving. you'd been doing some business in dallas, driving back to austin. you snapped that shot of what was then a fire at the fertilizer plant. tell us what happened then.

>> well, we just decided to get back to our daily lives. so a couple days later i went to a meeting in dallas and was driving back and the left side of the highway there was black smoke coming up. i was staring right at it. and before i knew it, a giant explosion, i heard the sound and a giant mushroom cloud . you see a picture of a nuclear explosion and that's what it looked like. it was just massive. on the left side of the highway. and so i was obviously shocked to see another explosion after having just come back from boston.

>> can only imagine. very quickly, the question on everyone's mind. are you the luckiest guy around or most unlucky?

>> people ask that. i feel blessed. amy was ten feet away from an explosion where hundreds of people were injured and i had just run through the finish line 30 seconds before, so we feel blessed that we're still here. we're okay. there's a lot of people who weren't in the same situation, so we're happy to be here.

>> joe and amy berti , we wish you plenty of quiet days after this. thanks for coming on.