HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) - Local runners and their families who witnessed Monday's terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon made their way back home Tuesday. It appears no one from north Alabama was closer to the bomb blasts than the Aultman family from Walker County.
Eighteen-year-old Holly Aultman and her mother, Janell Aultman, ended up standing right between the pair of explosions on Boston's Boylston Street. The family said they ended up being less than 50 yards from the first blast on one side, with the second bomb detonating just yards away on the other. Holly was supporting her father, Phillip, who had just finished his first Boston Marathon a few minutes earlier. All three family members landed at Huntsville International Airport on Tuesday afternoon and recalled the terrifying moments.
"Cannons, they sounded like cannons," said Holly Aultman, who was relieved to be back home. "The first blast we were about 50 yards or less, and the second one we were about 25 yards or less. Everyone just started running and screaming and crying. It was chaotic. We didn't know what to do."
Many of the victims ended up being stricken just a few feet away from Holly and Janell Aultman, who were mentally shaken but physically unharmed. They said their only focus was finding Phillip, who was reunited with his wife and daughter just moments after the explosion.
"When the blast went off, the sound just sort of vibrated, echoed through those buildings," said Phillip Aultman, who believes that God protected his family. Aultman also said his first Boston Marathon would be his last.
"With a race that size and that many people, there's no way you can control that big of a crowd," said Mr. Aultman.
"Alabama has never looked more beautiful," said Holly Aultman, who hasn't ruled out a return trip to Boston down the road.