Statue of Liberty evacuated after bomb threat; all safe

A 911 caller made the threat late Friday morning, "stating they were going to blow up the Statue of Liberty," the National Park Service said

Chopper 12 above the Statue of Liberty in 2012.

Chopper 12 above the Statue of Liberty in 2012. (4/24/15)

NEW YORK - (AP) - The Statue of Liberty was evacuated as a precaution on Friday after a bomb threat, forcing hundreds of tourists to be herded off the island.
    
A 911 caller made the threat late Friday morning, "stating they were going to blow up the Statue of Liberty," the National Park Service said in a statement.
    
Federal police, including two canine units, investigated and the dogs found "an area of interest" in a locker area at the statue's base, the agency said. Law enforcement then decided to evacuate the island.
    
Nothing harmful was found in the lockers, according to New York Police Department spokesman Steve David, but the bomb squad continued sweeping the area Friday afternoon as a precaution.
    
John Blount, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was in the statue's crown, chatting with a park ranger.
    
"All of a sudden he got a call on his phone," Blount said. "He said 'OK', looked up and said, 'It's time to leave.' We had just made it up there."
    
He said it was a very calm evacuation down. They got on a boat, and "we were just floating around out there for the past hour and a half."
    
His wife's purse was in a locker; they had to leave without reclaiming their property.
    
Statue Cruises, which operates the ferries that carry tourists to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, said officials found a suspicious package at Liberty Island. The company was postponing all service to the island until the investigation was completed, said Mike Burke, its chief operating officer and vice president.
    
Eric Gustafson, of Worchester, Massachusetts, was on Liberty Island with his wife and son. They were about to enter the building for the tour when park rangers ushered "everyone to the flagpole" and then told them they had to leave.
    
"They didn't give us a reason for it. The communication was lacking," he said. About 90 minutes later, they were back in Manhattan.
    
They later saw Twitter accounts about a suspicious package.
    
"We weren't nervous. It was mostly just frustrating," he said, adding that the evacuation was very orderly.
    
Other tourists said they were taken off boats while trying to leave nearby Ellis Island, then those vessels then were used to evacuate Liberty Island.
    
Karen Mason, 68, of Cincinnati, Ohio, said they had just boarded a boat at Ellis Island at 12:40 p.m. "All of a sudden, they said 'Disembark, disembark, disembark. We have to evacuate the boat.'"
    
She said she didn't feel like she was in any danger. "But we saw helicopters and we knew something was going on," she said.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

1 The Download: Tech News for 3/22
An attacker is treated by emergency services outside 2 4 dead in vehicle, knife attack near British Parliament
Irwin Scharf, of North Massapequa, says he noticed 3 Tax rebate may be restored to thousands of Nassau seniors
In a News 12/Newsday special report, has been 4 LI garbage barge of '87 still influences solid waste disposal
The American Health Care Act still has its 5 LI representatives split in GOP health care bill decision

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Each week, News 12's Doug Geed explores the Check out fun things to do on the East End!

Explore the Twin Forks with News 12's Doug Geed.

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Dog Day Fridays Series

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Long Island with pets up for adoption.

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's Discover Long Island's Hidden Past

News 12's Danielle Campbell digs into Long Island's roots.

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long On The Spot

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long Islanders know about everything and anything.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE