Thursday, May 26

Homemade bomb that sounded like a cannon blows off student’s foot in Central Park



A college student stepped on a “homemade” bomb in Central Park Sunday, blowing off his left foot, authorities said.

Connor Golden, 18, of Fairfax, Va. had just climbed down off of a rock near E. 60th St. and Fifth Ave. around 11 a.m. when the blast went off.

The explosive appeared to have been in the area more than a day, according to Lt. Mark Torre, the commanding officer of the NYPD’s Bomb Squad said. He ruled out authorities’ initial suspicion of a self-inflicted fireworks mishap.

Two friends of the victim, Connor Golden, 18, of Fairfax, Va., insisted they had no fireworks or other explosives. One witnesses said the victim’s foot was “all but gone.” Another said the blast sounded “like a cannon.”

Bomb-sniffing dogs combed the area around the explosion. Cops also examined a car parked at Newark Airport that the victim used to drive to New York, sources said.

The FBI took over investigation of the case, a source said.

Golden’s two friends — Thomas Hinds, 20, and Matthew Stabile, 18, — went into shock after the bizarre blast.

“I got down the hill and boom, my ears were ringing. I felt a wave, a gust hit me in the back,” Hinds said.

“I turned around and saw him on the ground with his foot bleeding.

“It just demolished his foot. His foot was mutilated,” Hinds added.

Golden groaned on the ground but remained conscious.

“His foot was gone and he handled it pretty well,” Hinds said. “He’s a tough guy…All he said was ‘get help.’”

Hinds said the group had no explosives — something he’d told police for an hour and a half.

“They’re questioning the hell out of me,” Hinds said.

He hesitated to say a bomb had gone off, because the explosion wasn’t that large.

“I want to say someone planted a firework or bottle rocket,” Hinds said.

“It seemed like he stopped on something that was pressure sensitive.”

The trio arrived from Virginia Saturday and had planned to set up a tightrope between two trees and enjoy a day in the park.

“This was our first full day of doing anything and immediately this happened,” Hinds said.

Police said they had responded to an “amputation incident.”

Medics rushed the victim to Bellevue Hospital.

The explosion was heard by attendees of Elie Wiesel’s funeral on E. 61st St. — though there was no sign the blast was related to the memorial for the Pulitzer Prize winning Holocaust survivor.

Witness John Murphy, 53, said he tried to keep Golden conscious following the explosion.

“I saw his friends standing there panicking. 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. It looks like there was an explosion,” Murphy said.

He asked the group if they were carrying fireworks or something similar.

“They said, ‘We didn’t have anything. He stepped on something!'” Murphy recalled.

“It was an explosive of some sort. The damage is just awful. I didn’t see any metal. It was very weird.”

He said the victim remained conscious.

“He’s a very tough young man. He’s got a very severe injury,” he said. “We just stayed with him, held his hand and tried to keep him present and make sure he didn’t go into shock.”

Sara Gordon, 27, was also nearby at the time of the explosion.

“His left foot looked severed. It was very graphic,” she said. “I was running back and forth to direct the police here. It sounded like a cannon. I thought it was a 4th of July thing.”

Vendor Karma Nyima, 49, of Queens, said he heard the noise as cops ushered him away.

“A lot of people were running. Everybody was scared. I walk over to the guy. His leg looked pretty bad, a lot of blood. Somebody took his belt and tied it around, trying to stop the bleeding,” Nyima said.

A man from Florida nervously scratched his head as he walked from the scene. “This is terrible,” he said. “It’s a nice day to be out. It’s unnerving.”