NYC Central Park Bomb Explosion Injures Man

Jul 3, 2016, 3:31 PM ET

A man was severely injured in an explosion in New York's Central Park today, but it was not yet clear what caused the blast, police said.

Three men were walking in an area of the park not far from the entrance to the Central Park Zoo when the explosion occurred, severing the foot of one of them, a New York Police Department spokesperson said.

Police said identified the victim as an 18-year-old, and said his friends -- identified only as an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old -- were being interviewed, but they were not in custody.

The man was taken to Bellevue hospital with a "possible amputation," a Fire Department of New York spokesperson said. The spokesperson would not speculate on what caused the explosion, but police said it was likely fireworks, given that Monday is the Fourth of July.

One of the young men, Thomas Hinds, 20, said the explosion was "definitely not a firecracker." He said his friend, whom he identified as Connor Golden, 18, had his foot "severely mutilated" by the explosion.

"We were climbing down the rocks, Connor was 6 feet behind me and all of sudden I felt the explosion on my back," Hinds said. "The explosion sounded like a gunshot next to my ears. I turned around and saw his foot which wasn’t completely blown off but was severely mutilated. My other friend Matthew [Stabile, 18] was behind Connor and all he saw was a massive amount of dirt go flying up in the air. My understanding, I could be wrong, is he’s in surgery right now and they are hoping to keep his foot."

He said police questioned them separately and "were understandably going at us hard asking about firecrackers because the idea that there would be some sort of bomb in Central Park is really scary."

The NYPD bomb squad was on the scene, and a portion of the park was closed for the investigation, police said.