Connor Golden, 18, was climbing on rocks near East 60th Street and Fifth Avenue with two buddies — Thomas Hinds, 20, and Matthew Stabile, 18 — when he stepped on the object around 11 a.m., according to police.
“His foot was mutilated,” said Hinds, who spoke to The Post from the 19th Precinct on Sunday afternoon. “I was walking in front of him and suddenly heard this extremely loud explosion directly behind me. When I turned around, I saw Connor lying there, his foot completely gone. It was insane. He was moaning and saying, ‘Get help.’ ”
After the incident, the NYPD’s bomb squad was called in to confirm whether it was a firecracker that caused the explosion and not something more sinister. They determined that the blast was, in fact, the result of “explosive experimentation,” or the making of one’s own fireworks.
“It is not unusual for the public to make or try to create homemade fireworks around the Fourth of July,” explained Lt. Mark Torre, head of the NYPD Bomb Squad. “This is a time of a year where typically we will see a lot of experimentation — explosive experimenters, if you will. Their goal is to make a loud noise, maybe make a flash. They like to make noise and sort of play with fireworks, and it’s even better if they can make their own.”
Law enforcement sources told The Post that whoever left the device was likely not trying to cause any intentional harm to anyone. “It was a homemade device. They probably tried to light it on Friday night, but it didn’t go off because of the rain,” a source said. “[Investigators] found wet matches near it. It probably just went off because of the friction of him stepping on it.”
Officials also confirmed that the tiny explosive was in a brown bag and did not appear to be designed to be pressure-sensitive. “There is some forensic evidence that indicates that it was not meant go off by someone stepping on it,” Torre said. “It was there longer than a day.”
According to Hinds, Golden and his friends arrived in New York on Saturday evening. He said the trio are high school buddies and were in town visiting from Fairfax, Va., for the Fourth of July holiday. Golden is a student at the University of Miami in Florida, Hinds attends Northwestern University and Stabile is enrolled at Bard College, Hinds said.
On Sunday, just one day into their vacation, the trio decided to try to find some places in Central Park to go slacklining — an outdoor activity where people tie a rope between two objects and attempt to walk across it.
“We were planning on slacklining between some trees,” Hinds explained. “We were getting up on the rocks to get a good look at the area. We walked up there totally normal, saw nothing suspicious, and then on our walk down, it happened.” Sources said Golden was transported to Bellevue Hospital, where he would undergo surgery.
Witnesses in the area said the makeshift firecracker that he stepped on could be heard outside the funeral of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.
“At first, I though we were being attacked,” Hinds said. “It was a very loud explosion, and I couldn’t help but think of all the stuff in the news. That’s just what your mind automatically jumps to. But when I turned around and saw that [Connor] had stepped on something and was hurt, I went into shock. I realized that that could’ve been me. I went ahead first and the place where he stepped was inches away from where I was walking.”
John Murphy, a Connecticut resident who is also in town visiting for the holiday, said Hinds and Stabile freaked out when they realized the extent of Golden’s injuries. “The friends were just in shock,” he said. “He was severely injured. His left leg was severely damaged, all bone and muscle.”
Murphy said that when he walked up on the scene, Golden was lying on the ground — his foot completely missing below the ankle. Despite this, he managed to somehow stay alert until EMS arrived. “He was an absolute trouper,” Murphy said. “I couldn’t believe it. We just stayed with him, tried to keep him calm until EMS showed up. He was in shock. I don’t think he even realized what had happened.”
Karma Thrinley Nyima, a 49-year-old who sells pictures from a stand in Central Park, described seeing a man use his belt to make a tourniquet in an attempt to stop the bleeding. “I saw the leg from far away. I got very scared,” he said. “The leg was bleeding and one guy took off his belt and was trying to stop the blood. I was too scared to go over there.”
Authorities had been speaking to Hinds and Stabile at the Central Park Precinct and 19th Precinct, respectively, to find out whether they were playing with fireworks at the time of the incident. But they eventually were able to prove that this was not the case. “The victim and his two friends, we don’t consider them to be part of the construction of this object,” Torre said.
Hinds told The Post that cops had been grilling him for hours about the incident — and were at one point implying that it was their fault — even though he repeatedly insisted they did not have any fireworks.
“It’s ridiculous. They’ve been asking me questions for two hours,” he said. “They want us to admit that we were playing with fireworks, but we really weren’t. We didn’t have anything on us explosive at all. But I know how it goes. If it was just us f–king around with fireworks, it would be a lot easier for them. But it’s not. And that’s actually really scary. Why would we do that?!”
In a Facebook post written July 1, Hinds describes “feeling pumped” about spending time in the Big Apple. “All y’all New York types better prepare thyselves,” he said. Hinds later recalled how he and his friends were planning on eventually heading upstate to go camping in the Adirondack Mountains — and how Golden was really looking forward to it.
“Connor is a really laid-back guy who really likes music and the outdoors,” Hinds said. “We love to go camping together, so on the fifth day of our trip, we were gonna head upstate to the Adirondacks for the weekend and then head home. But that’s all changed. Now, I just hope they can put his foot back together.”
Mines, mines, mines, I absolutely hate mines, especially those small anti-personnel land mines with the sole purpose of taking completely off someone’s foot who unfortunately and unknowingly had just stepped on one of those suckers hidden underneath in the ground.
But under Chairman Mao’s guidance Chinese PLA has developed very small mines dedicated just to wound enemy soldiers but not to kill them. Since our enemies KIA (Kachin Independence Army) and CPB (Communist Party of Burma) were Chinese allies they unleashed those abundantly available Chinese-supplied so-called Soapbox Mines on us Burmese soldiers fighting them in the jungle.
|A field amputation Burmese Army style, Rough and Raw.|
That might also be the same reason he was deliberately sent by the battalion to the most forward base and forced to walk a long distance everyday. Even without me telling around, his cuckold making reputation might be well known back in the battalion. If our captain ever found out about our corporal’s affair with his young wife back in the battalion, Corporal Tin Win would be a dead meat soon, I reckoned.
|Innocent-looking Chinese-made soapbox mines and their Burmese soldier victims.|
Related posts at following links:
Reliving 1973 Kachin Christmas Eve In New York City