Local's brush with Times Square bomb
A GOONELLABAH woman and her friend were metres from a car bomb that failed to explode at New York’s Times Square on Sunday.
Teresa Morgan, of Goonellabah, and friend Jess Torrens, of Redland Bay in Queensland, are holidaying in New York for 12 days and staying at The Paramount Hotel in the heart of Times Square.
Ms Morgan, 27, and Mrs Torrens, 26, were walking back to their hotel on West 46th Street and Broadway when police barricaded the area.
“We were approaching 46th Street when we were told to turn back,” Ms Morgan said.
“It was about 6.30pm on Saturday night (8.30am Sunday AEST) so it was the busiest we’ve seen Times Square.”
The alarm was raised just before 6.30pm by a T-shirt vendor and a Vietnam War veteran who saw smoke filling the inside of a green sports utility vehicle on the south-west corner of 45th Street and Broadway in the city’s busy theatre district.
Bomb squad officers discovered three propane gas tanks, consumer-grade fireworks, two petrol containers, wires and two clocks loaded into the back of the SUV.
New York police and the US Government’s Terrorism Task Force agreed while a fiery blast had been foiled, the explosives could have been devastating on a busy Saturday night.
Ms Morgan said at the time she was not overly concerned because she and Mrs Torrens had been in the middle of a security scare at the Statue of Liberty earlier that day when a bag was left behind by a tourist.
She said while it turned out to be nothing, security had stopped visitors from boarding the ferry to leave Liberty Island for 30 minutes while a police chopper flew overhead and the contents of the bag were investigated.
“It was over in half-an-hour,” she said. “But security is obviously very high and at Times Square there were people everywhere, but no one really knew what was going on.”
Ms Morgan said when news reports revealed the following day that the Times Square car bomb had been ready to be detonated, she realised how imminent the threat had been.
“When I heard what was in the car, that there were two clocks and a remote detonator, I thought ‘Oh my God, that’s quite scary’,” she said.
“But the strangest thing was seeing the middle of Times Square completely deserted. That was eerie.
“The numbers of people there was scarier at the time.”
Ms Morgan said police cordoned off several blocks of the city from 43rd to 49th Street and escorted groups ofpeople back to their hotels once the immediate danger had passed.