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Online Tools to Connect with Loved Ones at Marathon

Mobile phones were down in the wake of two blasts at the Boston Marathon, but Google and the Red Cross set up online tools to help people connect

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    A man is loaded into an ambulance after he was injured by one of two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon near Copley Square on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

    It was difficult to impossible to use mobile phones to check on loved ones in the wake of two explosions that rocked the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon.

    Cell phone companies indicated that customers in the Boston area may have been having trouble connecting due to congestion. Earlier, The Associated Press reported that a law enforcement official, citing an intelligence briefing, said that cell phone service had been shut down in parts of Boston to prevent the chance of a remote detonation of another device. But the AP later added that officials with Verizon, Sprint and Nextel said no such requests had been made.

    For those who are having trouble connecting by phone with loved ones who may have been near the scene, at least two online tools are available as alternatives.

    Google launched a People Finder application where users could list that they are looking for someone or that they have information about someone.

    The Red Cross maintains a "Safe and Well" listing for any disaster, natural or man-made.

    Those with phone service trying to locate anyone who was at or near the marathon route can call the Boston mayor hotline at 617-635-4500. Those with any tips are being asked to call 1-800-494-TIPS.