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Statue of Liberty deemed safe after bomb threat

Visitors to the Statue of Liberty were evacuated from Liberty Island in New York Harbor on Friday after a report of a suspicious package, the United States Park Police said, and law enforcement officials are investigating the site.

world Updated: Apr 25, 2015 07:42 IST
Statue of Liberty,NYPD,Statue of Liberty evacuated

The Statue of Liberty was deemed safe on Friday after a bomb threat lead to a security sweep and the evacuation of hundreds of tourists from Liberty Island in New York Harbor, NBC's local television affiliate reported, citing law enforcement sources.

The United States Park Police, which has jurisdiction over the island, could not be reached immediately to confirm the report on NBC 4 New York.

The evacuation was ordered after a telephone bomb threat, according to CNN and the Wall Street Journal. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Park Police said she could not confirm such a threat, which CNN said was phoned in at about 11:30 a.m.

Ferry service to the island, which has some four million visitors a year, was suspended when the security sweep began, said Mike Burke, vice president of Statue Cruises, which operates between island and Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan.

"As a precaution, we are currently postponing all service to Liberty Island until the investigation is complete," he said in statement.

Visitors exit a ferry after New York City police respond to reports of a suspicious package at the Statue of Liberty on Friday, April 24, 2015 in New York. (AP Photo)

Police dogs detected a suspicious scent on a package, the Journal reported, and CNN reported that the suspicious package was inside a locker.

The New York Police Department's bomb squad was assisting in the security sweep, a NYPD spokesman said.

Video posted on Twitter showed crowds of tourists slowly shuffling onto ferries to be carried off the island, which lies between Manhattan and New Jersey near the mouth of the Hudson River.

The Statue of Liberty, one of the New York area's most popular tourist destinations, was closed for nearly eight months due to damage to the island by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

"Waiting to be evacuated off #libertyisland. Interesting," a person identified as Rick Borgmeyer wrote on Twitter.

First Published: Apr 25, 2015 00:01 IST