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.