Weston student who survived Boston Marathon bombing dies in overseas crash
WESTON — To the world, Victoria McGrath was an iconic symbol of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the photograph of McGrath being carried, her legs bleeding from shrapnel wounds, by Boston firefighter Jim Plourde, appeared on front pages of newspapers across the country.
But to the residents of Weston, she was just Vicki, the girl next door, and their grief Monday over the 23-year-old student’s death in a car accident in Dubai was genuine.
"She was a wonderful person," said Michelle Fracasso. "Sorry, I’m too upset to say anything more."
"She was a very sweet young lady, a very caring person who always looked at the positive in everybody," said another neighbor, Melanie Savitsky. "She helped a lot of people, and we are all heartbroken and devastated."
The oldest of three children of James and Jill McGrath, Victoria McGrath graduated in 2011 from Weston High School.
"Our school community is profoundly saddened by the tragic loss of Victoria McGrath," Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer said in a statement Monday. "She was a compassionate, accomplished and worldly young woman. Our thoughts are with Victoria’s family and friends, and we offer them our deepest condolences."
A student at Northeastern University in Boston, McGrath was killed Sunday in the United Arab Emirates’ most populous city, along with her roommate, 23-year-old Priscilla Perez Torres, of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.
Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University, issued a statement Monday expressing deep sadness over the two women’s deaths.
"It is with the deepest sadness that I write to inform you that Victoria McGrath, DMSB ’16, and Priscilla Perez Torres, COS ’16, have perished in a car accident while traveling overseas," the statement read. "Victoria and Priscilla were vibrant, beloved members of our community, and their passing leaves a grievous absence in our community and in our hearts. This is a heartbreaking loss to their families, friends and to all of us in the Northeastern family,"
On April 15, 2013, when McGrath was 20 and a spectator at the Boston Marathon, she was 5 feet from where the first bomb exploded at the race’s finish line. Shrapnel pierced one of her legs and sent her sprawling onto the pavement, screaming in pain. Three people were killed and more than 260 others were injured in the bombing.
Later, McGrath was reunited with Plourde, the firefighter who helped saved her life.
On Monday, in a written statement to NBC News, Plourde said he and his family were "devastated" by McGrath’s death.
"It's been said that I helped to save her life, but the truth is Victoria saved my life after the marathon as her love, support and friendship helped myself and my family deal with the acts of 4/15/13," he wrote.