Emotional reunion for bombing survivor, her heroes
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Her rescue from the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings quickly became an iconic image of the tragedy: A frightened Northeastern University student, her legs bloodied, her arms gripping the neck of the burly man carrying her.
“I was literally five feet away from where the first bomb went off,” said Victoria McGrath. “I don’t know how you can put a bomb there and look at the people around and know that you’re going to kill them. I don’t understand it.”
Now Victoria McGrath has been reunited with the firefighter who rescued her, along with the three other strangers who saved her life.
“I’m so thankful. You guys are so brave,” said a tearful McGrath from her room at Tufts Medical Center in a segment that aired Wednesday on TODAY.
Bruce Mendelson, the first person who rushed to her side, used a T-shirt as a tourniquet on her shrapnel-pierced leg.
“The doctor told me if you hadn’t had done that, then I would have died,” McGrath told him. “You saved my life. Otherwise I would have bled out, because it hit the artery.”
McGrath’s search for her rescuers got an assist from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
"One of the things he said to her to calm her down, was to show her his own shrapnel, a wound or a shrapnel wound from when he was in Afghanistan," said Governor Patrick during a press conference last week.
That would be Tyler Todd, who encountered a hysterical McGrath inside the medical tent located by the marathon’s finish line.
Todd told a little white lie in the medical tent to help her along.
“He wasn’t a soldier in Afghanistan. He wasn’t in combat. I don’t regret it -- I don’t regret him telling me that,” McGrath said.
Also inside that medical tent was former Navy medic Alicia Shambo, whose words helped give McGrath strength to keep going.
“It was in the ambulance that I realized that I had to hold on,” she said.
And then there was the firefighter from that now-famous photo, Jimmy Plourde.
“You looked right at me like, ‘I’m so scared,’ and I’m like, ‘we’re out of here,’” he told McGrath.
At the time, McGrath said, she feared there would be additional explosions.
She is going home to Connecticut to heal from her Boston scars after nine days at Tufts Medical Center.