Detectives in New York’s Long Island are hunting for a boat that was seen fleeing an uninhabitable island following a suspected explosion that left a crater on the beach and panicked residents.
The Suffolk police department is working with an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to determine whether the explosion was a test run for bigger terrorist activity, reported News 12 Hudson Valley.
Authorities received around 500 emergency calls on 911 after an explosion caused panic among residents miles away across Suffolk County.
According to the police, an unknown device detonated on Fox Island, off the coast of West Babylon around 11.40am on Sunday, and a boat was seen leaving the island soon after.
Acting Suffolk police commissioner Stu Cameron said “terrorism is always a concern” because someone might have been doing a “test run” on a device before using them. But they didn’t find any fragmentation from the blast site, he added.
“We do know that when people produce homemade explosives, very often they want to test those explosives to make sure they function as intended,” Mr Cameron said.
A 4 feet-wide and 2 feet-deep crater was left by the mystery blast on the north of the island.
The Suffolk Police department has released the picture of the boat that was seen fleeing the site. The island is only accessible by boat.
The 23-feet-long boat with stripes is now suspected to be linked to the explosion, and authorities have urged people to contact them with any information about the boat or the incident.
No injuries were reported following the incident and the police have also ruled out a sonic boom by an aircraft.
The residents in West Islip, some 16km away, said that their doorbell video cameras were activated following the blast, Babylon Town authorities said.
“A blast that size had to be something significant because it was felt as far east as East Islip [about 25km from Fox Island], in Sayville [35km away] and as far west as…the Merrick area [about 33km away],” said Babylon town supervisor Richard Schaffer.