Bus service to Boston has been partially suspended and members of the Martha’s Vineyard Tactical Response Team have been called to report to Boston as much of the capital area remains on lockdown during a massive manhunt for one of the suspects in the deadly Boston Marathon bombing attack.
Members of the Island’s tactical team were first called to Boston on Wednesday afternoon for a 12-hour shift, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., Oak Bluffs Lt. Tim Williamson told the Gazette on Wednesday. The team returned Thursday morning, before being called back into service on Friday.
The tactical response team is a highly-trained group composed of members from Island police departments partially funded by Homeland Security money. Similar tactical response teams throughout the state, including at least two on Cape Cod, have been called this week to provide relief and assistance to Boston-area SWAT teams.
On Friday morning Peter Pan Bus issued an alert notifying that all service to and from South Station in Boston had been suspended. Limited service to and from Logan Airport to Woods Hole and Providence will continue and will bypass the South Station connection, a spokesperson for the bus company said. Logan Airport remains open to air traffic.
The news of the manhunt and accompanying travel restrictions comes as many Martha’s Vineyard students are making their way back to the Island at the end of school vacation week. Vineyard schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss said that two groups of students are scheduled to return from international trips today: the Minnesingers choral group, which was to return from Croatia today and take the 6:15 p.m. boat, as well as a group of German language students who traveled this past week to Germany.
Mr. Weiss said two busses from the school’s off-Island fleet have been dispatched to meet the students at the airport. The drivers “don’t know what they’re going to find as they get closer to Logan, but are on their way now so that they should have plenty of time to pick the kids up,” he said.
Martha’s Vineyard Airport manager Sean Flynn said in the wake of the bombings in Boston on Monday, the Island’s own airport has “increased our vigilance” of the “see something, say something” campaign. The airport has distributed flyers and posters around the airport and to tenants at the airport business park to report any unusual activity to law enforcement.
Mr. Flynn said the airport continues to have “routine” conversations with local, state and federal law enforcement.
“While the subject matter has changed, the only thing we’ve done differently is handed out the flyer,” he said.
Steamship Authority general manager Wayne C. Lamson said ferry operations are continuing as normal.