A mysterious Central Park explosion severed a man’s leg on Sunday. Authorities described the incident as a “possible amputation.”
A New York Fire Department spokesperson told CBS News that a call was received a few minutes before 11 a.m. about the incident.
The Central Park explosion left many witnesses terrified. According to the New York Daily News, the victim is from Fairfax, Virginia. Witnesses told the New York Post that he was on a visit to New York with a group of friends to celebrate the Fourth of July. The victim was walking on a rock structure when the blast occurred, a witness told CBS2.
“I saw the young man laying on the grass. His foot is all but gone. His friends claimed he was walking down the rocks, and he stepped on it,” an eyewitness told the New York Daily News.
The Central Park explosion is thought to have been caused by fireworks or a similar explosive device. A spokesperson for the fire department told ABC News that it was likely that the Central Park explosion was caused by fireworks since the Fourth of July celebrations, which is traditionally marked by the elaborate use of fireworks, is less than 24 hours away. However, friends of the victim told an eyewitness interviewed by the New York Daily News that they were not carrying any fireworks.
The New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir, who is at the scene, has revealed on Twitter that police have found firework wrappers in the park. It is possible that the fireworks were left there by someone else. Authorities are yet to make any announcement about their findings.
The unidentified victim of the Central Park explosion, who is said to have remained conscious until medics arrived, has since been rushed to the Bellevue Hospital. There have been no updates about his condition.
Meanwhile, the police have cordoned off parts of the park as investigators attempt to identify the source of the blast. The New York Police Department bomb squad is present at the scene and is participating in the investigation, the New York Daily News reported.
The Central Park explosion occurred near the funeral of the late Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel on Fifth Avenue. According to the New York Daily News, people attending the funeral heard the blast. It is unclear if the explosion was in any way connected to the Wiesel. The Romanian-born Holocaust survivor is renowned for his activism against oppression.
If the Central Park explosion is found to have been caused by fireworks, it may lead to tighter restrictions on the use of pyrotechnics in the city. New York is one of the states that have loosened laws regarding the use of fireworks over the past few years. According to USA Today, it is legal to use sparkling devices that are handled or mounted on the ground in New York. However, it is illegal to use powerful fireworks like firecrackers, skyrockets, bombs and metal sparklers, as well as large aerial fireworks.
The Central Park explosion comes on the heels of news that a secret tunnel built in the park in the 1970s will be reopened to the public in December, Quartz reported. The tunnel, which is under Central Park, links 57th Street and 7th Avenue to Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street. It was reportedly constructed as part of a railway extension project. However, the tunnel was abandoned due to an economic recession.
It remains to be seen how the Central Park explosion will affect the festivities in the park to mark the Fourth of July. The New York Times’ Nir has tweeted that the scene is “placid.”
[Photo by Andres Kudacki/AP Photo]