Man survives Boston bombings and witnesses TX explosion - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Man survives Boston bombings and witnesses TX explosion


TEXAS (WKOW) – A Texas man is thankful to be alive after witnessing the Boston Terror attack and the fertilizer plant explosion in West Texas.

CNN's Gary Tuchman was able to talk to the Joe and Amy Berti about their experiences this past week.

Joe and Amy Berti look at this past week of disasters in Boston and West, Texas from a very different vantage point than others.  It's so unique it's hard to even contemplate.

Joe says, "We just feel blessed that we're both okay."

Joe Berti's story began last Monday in Boston.  The Austin, Texas resident was running his first marathon for a charity called Champions For Children.  A picture was taken of him just a few seconds after he crossed the finish line. 

Joe says his wife Amy was about ten feet away from the first explosion, but was not injured. 

Amy says, "That doesn't seem to make any sense when the person who was standing beside me in Boston was so maimed."

Amy had no idea where her husband was and grew panicked when she couldn't reach him on his cell.  She says that hour of trying to get a hold of her husband was the worst hour of her life.

Amy decided to head back to the hotel.  Amy says, "All the way up the elevator, I thought, dear Lord, just let him be there when I get there.  I opened the door to our hotel room, and thank God there he was."  Joe says it was incredible when he saw her.  They both were happy that they had found each other.

Joe says, "The not knowing was the worst thing, and not getting any response."

CNN's Gary Tuchman says," Joe and Amy flew back to Texas on Tuesday to reunite with their children.  And the next day, Wednesday, Joe had a business trip.  So he drove from Austin to Dallas.  After a few hours there, he started heading back home.  To get back to Austin, you have to drive on the interstate through this town, the town of West, Texas.

Joe was just minutes away from the West fertilizer plant when he was stunned to see huge plumes of smoke. 

"Right out of the middle of the black smoke came a giant explosion.  So, I saw a fireball. And then I saw a giant cloud of smoke.  It was so big and so loud.  It shook my car when I was driving.  I was worried about stuff falling out of the sky so I kept looking up and I heard something hit the top of my car.  So I quickly jumped out and took a picture," says Joe.

Joe says the first thought that came into his mind after the explosion on Monday was disbelief.   "What is it? Is it another terrorist attack? Is it a bomb? What is this explosion? It was so massive," says Joe.

In 43 years, Joe has never seen a bomb or explosion before, but now he has seen a bomb or an explosion twice in three days.

Joe got back in his car and in a jittery voice he called his wife back at home.

"I said you'll never believe this but I've seen another explosion and I start to describe it to her.  Her first reaction was just get Home.  She's like get home as quick as you can!"

Joe returned home to a wife and children who want him to stick around for a while.


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