Sunday, July 03, 2016

Mystery explosion in NYC severely injures one VA man visiting city; unclear if terror


An 18-year-old man was severely injured early Sunday when stepping on a rock in New York City’s Central Park.  ABC7 in New York has the most complete story now. 

The news story identifies the man, and there is a picture.  The man is from Fairfax VA.  I do not recognize the face or name, but it is possible that others who know me in northern VA might.  (I did not know any victims in Orlando, but I had visited the bar before, as had other people whom I know, even recently.)

Original stories suggested a fireworks related accident, but later stories suggest IED components.  NYPD has cordoned off a small area of the park.  CNN is reporting on the story now, which is developing.  
  
News reports conflict on the injury.  It does not appear to correct to say that an amputation happened, or will be absolutely necessary.  Nor is it clear how health insurance works i(with reconstructive surgery and rehab) in an accident caused by possible criminal activity earlier by another party.  It appears very unlikely that the person or his companions had any knowledge of the hazard before, but this is a developing story, and conceivably a terror incident.
This could happen to anyone.  It could have happened to me. 

Later reports defuse the idea of IED components, but there is a question as to why it detonated when stepped on. 

Update

The Washington Post has more information on the person's condition, and the NYPD is claiming this was some sort of outdoor chemistry experiment. But it's not clear why it exploded on contact.  Was it a plastic or liquid explosive (like the Underwear bomber)?  Possibly sun exposure provided pre-heat that primed the mixture?

The young man is an undergraduate student at the University of Miami (FL).  Media sources indicate that the university (apparently the health insurance provided to students) will cover the medical, prosthetic and rebab costs, which will probably run into hundred of thousands.   

WJLA reports a Gofundme campaign set up with assistance from survivors of the Boston Marathon attack, link here. Presumably, and arrest would lead to charges of reckless endangerment and possibly arson.  The police investigation sounds like a "Law and Order" episode. 

Update:

CNN is reporting on 2016/7/14 that police have determined that the device contained TATP, an explosive popular with terrorists, and that it might have become unstable in the sun.  The plastic bag was traced to a bakery in New Jersey, no longer in business.  No other gear was found.  It is unclear why it was left there. 

The Daily Mail has a more detailed story on the attack. and the pictures and video are particularly disturbing. 

Update: Dec. 12

Connor Golden has fought a long battle with his insurance company to get the prosthetic properly covered, after all.  The Daily Mail story is here. NBC Washington will cover the insurance saga on Monday night Dec. 12 at 11 PM. 

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