FORMER Launceston Church Grammar School student Stephen Cuff described the feeling of being in a city where three people were killed and 130 people were injured yesterday as ``surreal''.
Mr Cuff is on exchange at Northeastern University, Boston, from Melbourne's Swinburne University, and was two blocks away when two bombs exploded among thousands of people watching the Boston Marathon.
The bachelor of arts-media student did not hear the blasts but said he heard screams and everyone was in a state of panic running from the scene.
``I counted 18 ambulances and police cars drive by in the space of two blocks, and that's when I noticed something was serious,'' Mr Cuff said.
``It was a surreal experience and it was not until we got back to our residence about 10 minutes' walk away when we turned on the news and realised what had happened.
``For a day that celebrates true humanity and individualism for a marathon and a public holiday too - for something tragic like this to happen is just devastating.''
Tasmanian runner Shane Mundy, who completed the marathon 20 minutes before the bombs went off and was in Boston with his wife and children, told the ABC that he felt numb after the attack.
``I've had emotions, lots of emotions in my life, but this is one that I can't really explain, how it actually feels inside to think that my family was only two minutes either side of those bombs,'' Mr Mundy said.
``Before the explosion I was back up in my room . . . and I heard this massive explosion.
``I ran downstairs and another explosion went off while I was talking to a lady.''
Mr Mundy said his hotel was in lockdown for some time after the attacks.