posted at 1:01 pm on September 19, 2016 by John Sexton
An interesting side story to the New York/New Jersey bombings involves two men who may be the luckiest guys walking around alive in New Jersey today. Multiple news reports indicated that Sunday night two men found a backpack in Elizabeth, New Jersey that was either sitting on or sitting in a trash can near a train station. They decided to take it thinking there might be something valuable inside.
According to the Mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey the two men took the backpack and walked under a railroad trestle and around the corner before deciding to open it and see what was inside. What they found were some pipes and wires which they immediately suspected could be a bomb. It would later turn out to be five bombs, at least some of which were active pipe bombs.
Apparently the two men were so surprised they dropped the bag in the middle of the street. I’m guessing maybe they didn’t actually drop it since they suspected it was a bomb but they did put it down where they were standing and immediately called the police. The NY Times reports what happened from there:
After finding that the backpack contained “wires and a pipe,” the mayor said, the men dropped the item in the street and contacted the Elizabeth Police Department around 8:45 p.m. The police, in turn, called the Union County bomb squad, and the investigation was quickly turned over to the F.B.I. and the New Jersey State Police, Mr. Bollwage said.
The F.B.I. then sent in a pair of robots and determined that the backpack held five bombs, some of which were pipe bombs, the mayor said.
Around 12:30 a.m., the robots tried to clip a wire to disarm one bomb and accidentally detonated it, the mayor said. No injuries were reported.
Here’s video of the bomb robots in action. Note: you might want to make sure your sound isn’t up too loud before playing this:
A separate NY Times story adds this detail, “The mayor said around 3 a.m. Monday that one robot was destroyed and another had a mechanical arm blown off.”
I’m not a bomb expert but I’m thinking a bomb which killed a bomb robot could easily have killed both of them when they were carrying it around the corner or poking around in the bag to see what they had. These guys are very lucky to be walking around. It’s good they weren’t hurt and, thanks to them calling the police, no one else was hurt either.
Here’s Mayor J. Christian Bollwage describing how the backpack full of bombs was discovered: