Friday 19 January 2018

New York explosion hurts 29 as second device found in city

The scene of the explosion Photo: BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images
The scene of the explosion Photo: BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images

An explosion that rocked a crowded Manhattan neighbourhood, injuring 29 people, does not appear to be linked to international terrorism, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has said.

Mr Cuomo said 1,000 extra law enforcement officers would patrol the streets after the blast in Chelsea, a primarily residential neighbourhood on Manhattan's west side that is known for its art galleries and large gay population.

He encouraged New Yorkers to go about their day as usual.

"We're not going to let them win," Mr Cuomo said at the scene. "We're not going to let them instil fear."


The Democratic governor said the preliminary investigation did not show a link to international terror, and he noted that no terror group had taken credit for it.

Authorities said the Manhattan blast did not appear to be connected to a pipe bomb explosion earlier on Saturday in New Jersey that forced the cancellation of a charity run.

He noted that the bombs included different materials.

A law enforcement official said a second device that officers investigated four streets from the scene appeared to be a pressure cooker attached to wiring and a mobile phone.

The official said the device was found inside a plastic bag on West 27th Street.

The law enforcement official also said that the explosion appeared to have come from a construction toolbox in front of a building.

Witnesses said the explosion, at about 8.30pm local time, blew out the windows of businesses and scattered debris.

Mr Cuomo said that all the injured who were taken to hospital after the blast had been released.

Some New York City subway routes were affected by the explosion, which rattled some New Yorkers and visitors on the heels of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Chris Gonzalez, visiting from Dallas, was having dinner with friends at a restaurant in the area.

"We felt it. We heard it," Mr Gonzalez said. "It wasn't like jolting or anything. Everyone just went quiet."

Rudy Alcide, a bouncer at Vanity Nightclub at 21st Street and 6th Avenue, said at first he thought something large had fallen.

"It was an extremely loud noise. Everything was shaking, the windows were shaking," he said. "It was extremely loud, almost like thunder but louder."

The White House said President Barack Obama was made aware of the explosion.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said that the nation needed to support its emergency services staff and to "pray for the victims".

"We have to let this investigation unfold," she said.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump moved ahead of New York City officials when he declared a "bomb went off" before officials had released details.

He made the announcement minutes after stepping off his plane in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"I must tell you that just before I got off the plane a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows what's going on," Mr Trump said.

"But boy we are living in a time - we better get very tough, folks. We better get very, very tough.

"It's a terrible thing that's going on in our world, in our country and we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant."

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