DUBAI // Two American university students, including one who survived the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, were among the four people killed in the Ferrari car accident in Dubai in the early hours of Sunday.
Victoria McGrath, 23, a student at Northeastern University in Boston died along with her university roommate, Priscilla Perez Torres, Canadian boxer Cody Nixon, 24, and his cousin, James Portuondo, 27.
The four were in a Ferrari 458 Spider when it hit a pavement, crashed into a lamppost and split into two.
On Tuesday morning, Dubai’s chief traffic prosecutor Salah Bu Farousha said forensics tests showed all four had been drinking alcohol.
Mr Bu Farousha said Portuondo was driving the vehicle and Nixon, 24, was sitting between the driver and passenger seats.
Portuondo, McGrath and Torres died at the scene of the crash in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Nixon died later in hospital.
He also said police had obtained CCTV footage from a hotel where the victims were staying. It showed the four getting into the two-seater sports car.
According to a witnesses, the car was travelling at no less than 140kph in a 60kph zone, although Mr Bu Farousha said police were awaiting confirmation from Ferrari on the actual speed.
One of the two women was found 150 metres from the car and Nixon was found 200 metres away, giving some indication that it was moving fast.
“This is such an unfortunate incident, and one of the most horrible accidents,” Mr Bu Farousha said. “The car does, of course, have safety features, but a person must be careful while driving, especially a powerful sports car.”
Dubai traffic police chief Col Saif Al Mazrouei said an investigation into the cause of the crash was ongoing. McGrath and Torres were on a personal trip and were not studying abroad.
McGrath received severe shrapnel injuries to her left leg from the first of two bombs placed near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. Three people were killed and more than 260 others were injured in the bombing. A photograph of her being carried, bloodied, from the scene of the explosion was broadcast around the world.
A spokesman for Northeastern University said McGrath, from Weston, Connecticut, was due to graduate this spring from the university’s school of business.
Northeastern president Joseph E Aoun sent a letter on Monday notifying the university community of the students’ deaths.
“She [McGrath] was devoted to helping others through leadership in student organisations and community service work,” Mr Aoun said.
Torres, from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, who was also due to graduate this spring. She was passionate about travel and working on issues related to nutrition and women’s health, Mr Aoun said.
At the scene of the Boston Marathon bomb, Bruce Mendelsohn saw McGrath lying on the ground, bleeding heavily from her left leg. He was said to have saved her life on the day of the bombing.
Mr Mendelsohn said he tied a scarf he found nearby around her leg as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
He then flagged down a fireman, who carried McGrath away from the scene in what became one of the most widely published photographs from the attack.
McGrath later tracked down her rescuers and formed friendships with them, Mr Mendelsohn said.
“At the time, I was angry that anyone could do such a thing,” he said of the bombing. “Now I’m angry that she’s been taken from us.”
J P and Paul Norden, brothers who each lost a leg in the bombings, posted a photo of McGrath on their Facebook page.
“Life can change in an instant we know this only too well.
“Those who survived the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15, 2013 all had a special bond our hearts are heavy tonight after hearing that one of our fellow survivors lost her life in a car accident,” reads a posting under the photo.
“A young energetic beautiful soul gone too soon. God bless you Victoria. Until we meet again.”
* Associated Press with additional reporting by Dana Moukhallati