A catastrophe was avoided at Times Square late Saturday night when an apparent car bomb failed to blow up after a small mini-explosion that occurred when the device failed to detonate as planned. Police evacuated the crowded square on what usually is the busiest night on Broadway.
A man who fled the scene is at-large and is suspected of having driven a dark-colored sport utility vehicle (SUV) to Times Square where it began to smoke and emit a flash.
Firemen found explosives, propane and burned wires in the vehicle, and police cordoned off the area while combing Manhattan for other car bombs. Fireman and a bomb squad extinguished the small fire in the car after using a robot to investigate the SUV.
"There were explosive elements, including powder, gasoline, propane and some kind of electrical wires attached to a clock," police spokesman Paul Browne said early Sunday." Bomb squads operated a robot to remove the explosives, and six blocks remain blocked off as of midnight EDT.
Thousands of peoples were forced to leave hotel rooms and theatres during the crisis, which began around 6:30 p.m. (1:30 a.m. Israeli time).
"The SUV was smoking. There was a flash and we put two and two together,” a firefighter told Reuters.
In the middle of the police and counterterrorist squad operation, bystanders panicked when hearing explosions, which actually were the sound of water cannons that were trying to break the glass of the vehicle.