A Possible Explosion At Port Authority Has Shut Down The Scene
Police responded to reports of a possible explosion at New York City's Port Authority bus terminal Monday morning, and subways were evacuated from the station. The New York City Police Department tweeted that it received "reports of an explosion of unknown origin" at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. The bomb squad was on the scene, and one person was taken into custody after a potential bomb detonated.
The NYPD initially reported that the suspect was injured, and the fire department later tweeted:
A total of 4 injuries reported at the scene of an explosion at Port Authority. All injuries are non-life-threatening[.]
The male suspect was wearing an explosive device, NY1 reported, that went off prematurely in an underground passageway under 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues around 7:30 a.m. Witness Francisco Ramirez told CNN he heard two blasts.
It was two distinct explosions seconds from each other. As I was making my way toward the outside, I kept getting shoved by cops and there were cops at every entrance blocking and there was police and SWAT everywhere. It was scary. It was just a lot of chaos but I didn't see any injuries.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was briefed on the situation, and his office tweeted that "the NYPD, FDNY and first responders are on the scene." White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also tweeted that President Trump had been briefed on the explosion, while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was briefed in person when he arrived at the scene.
The A, C, and E subway lines were evacuated as police worked to get people out of the Port Authority station. Subway lines that pass through Times Square-42 St (the 1, 2, 3, 7, A, C, E, N, Q, R, W, and the 42nd Street Shuttle lines) were bypassing the station. New Yorkers were told to expect delays on their morning commute and avoid the Port Authority area.
The New York Times reports the suspect could have had a pipe bomb, though the type of explosive has not been confirmed. A senior city official told the Times the police stripped the suspect's clothes off because the explosive was strapped to his body. People in the station quickly began to evacuate the area when they heard a suspicious noise. The Times reports:
Commuters underground near 40th Street and 8th Avenue began to flee after a loud, muffled sound was heard in the Port Authority subway station. Police officers, firefighters and Port Authority counterterrorism officials tried to clear commuters from the bus station and the west side of 8th Avenue as sirens blared.
A witness who heard the explosion, Andre Rodriguez, told The Times:
I was going through the turnstile. It sounded like an explosion, and everybody started running.
After the reports, the NYPD tweeted:
No cars allowed to exit FDR Drive from 59st [sic] to 42nd St., — 45th to 40th St., 7th to 9th Ave remains closed.
Other nearby major streets — 14th, 23rd, 34th, and 42nd — were also closed, and Port Authority buses were diverted to New Jersey.
"Everything around the Port Authority area was shut down — a surreal scene of still at what would ordinarily be a bustling rush hour," The Associated Press' Colleen Long reports.
Port Authority is the largest and busiest bus terminal in the country, servicing about 230,000 passengers every day. Photos of the surrounding scene shared on Twitter showed the bomb squad and other response vehicles outside.
The chaos at 42nd Street also created large crowds at nearby subway stations as New Yorkers tried to get to work Monday morning. NYC's emergency management informed people on Twitter to expect delays on the trains and the roads in relation to the incident.