(NECN: Lauren Collins) “He was there and then he was gone and then boom,” recalled a composed Jeff Bauman, Jr. on WEEI’s "Dennis and Callahan Morning Show."
Bauman is the Boston Marathon bombing survivor pictured in the now iconic photograph, being rescued by cowboy hat-wearing Carlos Arredondo. He said he has a very clear memory of seeing accused bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev moments before the blast.
“He was right next to me at that point and he had a bag and he had the glasses and he had, kind of like a sweatshirt type of deal and, you know, it's warm out," recounted Bauman. "He's just an odd guy. It just struck me as odd and that's what I remember of him and next thing you know, I hear fireworks and I'm on the ground.”
That helped the FBI zero in on those widely distributed images of the Tsarnaev brothers while Bauman recovered from a double-leg amputation at Boston Medical Center. Bauman reacted when he found out that Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police.
“What I thought was 'he's dead and I'm still here,' you know?” said Bauman.
Though when the blast happened Bauman, who remained conscious throughout the ordeal, wasn't sure he was going to make it.
“Actually, when Carlos [Arredondo] picked me up and threw me into the wheelchair, then I was like ‘alright, maybe I am going to make it.’ But before that, no way. I thought I was done.”
Instead, his story and pictures, like the moment when he brought fellow blast survivor Sydney Corcoran a birthday gift, are an inspiration.
“I had a lot to live for before and I have a lot to live for now,” said Bauman.