NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An unattended backpack prompted a temporary evacuation at the World Trade Center PATH station, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Sources initially told CBS2 that Port Authority K-9 officers received a “positive hit” for explosives in a PATH rail car at the World Trade Center station. But the backpack that was to blame for the evacuation turned out only to contain vitamins and clothing, officials later said.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, there were scary moments for people inside the busy World Trade Center Oculus, as thousands were forced to evacuate just after 3 p.m. when sources said the bomb-sniffing dog sensed explosives in the bag.
“Went into the mall and I see police just forcing people out of the PATH station like: “Get out! Get out!’” said Will Robertson.
“Military guys came in and said that we had to evacuate, so they were about a few other customers in the store and that I had to just lock up and make sure everything was secure, and pretty much every other store, I do the same thing,” said evacuated employee Matthew Saunds.
The entire building was shut down and cleared out while Port Authority police investigated. Police and National Guard troops guarded the entrances, and people were left stranded on the street – sitting outside and wondering how they would get to their destination.
Akeem Wallace of Flatbush, Brooklyn was going to New Jersey to visit his family, but could not get there and admitted he was “a little” frustrated.
Yolanda Golding lives in London, the target of multiple terrorist attacks recently. She was trying to get into the 9/11 Museum, but even that monument to America’s worst-ever terror attack was temporarily shut down.
“We have to be very careful nowadays,” Golding said. “It’s a scary world, so it could be nothing, or it could be something dangerous. So yeah, you have to take precautions.”
PATH service along the World Trade Center line terminated at Exchange Place in Jersey City while the evacuation was in effect, according to the Port Authority.
Employees were allowed back into the Oculus at the World Trade Center just before 4:15 p.m. The scene was completely cleared by 5 p.m.