New York City, New York – A man was seriously injured on Sunday in New York’s Central Park after stepping on an explosive.
The 18-year-old man, identified as Connor Golden, was climbing down a rock with some friends when he stepped on something and triggered an explosion, which left his foot and leg severely hurt. He was then taken to the Bellevue Hospital, where he would have a surgery.
The explosion happened before 11 a.m. at 68th Street and Fifth Avenue inside the park, fire officials informed, according to the Associated Press. They also stated that Golden would possibly need an amputation. John Murphy, a witness visiting the city, told AP that the man’s left leg was “severely damaged, all bone and muscle.”
Golden was with his high school friends Thomas Hinds, 20, and Matthew Stabile, 18. They told the New York Post they were visiting from Fairfax, Virginia to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Authorities interrogated Hinds and Stabile at the Central Park Precinct to find out if they were playing with fireworks, implying at some point that the explosion was their fault, which both firmly denied, Hinds told The Post. After proving themselves, they were finally considered not suspects.
Officials were searching for more devices located in the park, but there was no evidence of the existence of other similar explosives.
The NYPD’s bomb squad was called in and a sector of the park was closed off
— Bradley Stein (@_BradleyStein_) July 3, 2016
The bomb squad arrived the place to determine if the explosive was caused by a firecracker or was a device deliberately placed. Officers determined that it actually was “an experiment with fireworks or explosives,” or homemade firework, NYPD Deputy Chief John O’Connell stated at a news conference on Sunday afternoon, according to CNN.
Bomb squad commanding officer Mark Torre said there is no evidence the explosive was made to injure someone, and, though it is not clear what the device was, police do not relate it to terrorism. Also, if was placed in a location where it was very unlikely someone would step, O’Connell added.
Torre stated that with Fourth of July coming, it is normal to see different explosive experiments and homemade fireworks from the public, according to the New York Post.
A source told The Post that investigators found wet matches near the place of the explosion, probably meaning that the owner of the device tried to light it but failed because of the rain, and left it there. It had probably been in the park for longer than a day. The friction of stepping on it could have caused the ignition.
Explosive material left from the explosion at the scene is being tested at a bomb lab with assistance from members of the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force, law enforcement sources told CNN.
According to witnesses in the area, the blast was loud enough to be heard from blocks away.
Mayor Bill de Blasio sent out a tweet about the situation, reminding people to stay safe and leave fireworks “to the professionals.”
Source: The New York Post