Sunday, May 02, 2010

Suspect device shuts Times Square

Thousands of tourists and theatregoers have been cleared from Times Square in New York after police sealed off the area and investigated a suspect device in a parked car. Police say they received a report of smoke issuing from a Nissan Pathfinder parked on 45th Street just west of Seventh Avenue at 18:30 local time Saturday [23:15 GMT] [BBC].

A bomb disposal team was dispatched and after some hours declared the scene safe. A New York Fire Department source later told Reuters the vehicle that caused the evacuation did contain explosives. However there was no immediate official confirmation. The suspect package did not explode, and it is not known whether the incident was an attempted terrorist attack.

Broadway was closed between at least 43rd and 46th Streets, and the police also appeared to be closing off part of Eighth Avenue according to the New York Times. Onlookers crowded against the metal barricades encircling the area, taking pictures with cellphones and video cameras, although only a swarm of flashing fire trucks and police cars was visible.

Even some four hours after the incident began there were few report emerging. At 03:00 GMT BBC News 24 gave a brief news flash regarding a suspect device in Times Square but gave few details. There were no reports on BBC World or CNN Asia. Some reports did flash across the social networking website Twitter however. The news feed @BreakingNews posted several updates. According to @mpoppel, who founded the feed, Obama had possibly been informed but that homeland security had yet to become involved [BNO]. A press conference is expected in the coming hours.

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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