US & Canada

NYC explosion: 'People running for their lives' say eyewitnesses

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Media captionNew York eyewitnesses say the blast sounded like thunder or fireworks

A powerful explosion has rocked a busy Manhattan district of New York City, injuring 29 people.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has described it as "intentional" but said there were no known links to terror.

Eyewitnesses near the blast site in Chelsea have been giving their reaction.

'People running for their lives'

"People were running to me, towards us, not just me. They were holding their ears, they were coughing, they were wiping their eyes because there was particles in the air, it was getting in their faces, stuff like that," said Deborah Griffith.

"The explosion was so big though, it was like close, and people were running for their lives, they were running.

"The circle [created by the blast] was like an egg. The inside was real, real orange and the outside was white."

'Cars in pieces'

"We were watching TV, and suddenly we saw a flash of light. There was a huge explosion," said Itay Kohai, who was in a flat nearby.

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Media captionEyewitness Itay Cohai: "There was a huge explosion ... I heard screaming"

"There was a lot of smoke and it smelled like gunpowder or something of the sort.

"All I could see was, like, one or two cars that were all in pieces, basically."

'This city's built upon grit'

"This will not deter any New Yorker that I would know, I wouldn't imagine it would deter anybody in the city," said David McKay.

"The city's built upon grit and whoever perpetrated this act of lunacy I would say that their message would fall on very deaf ears."

'Endless fire trucks and firefighters'

"I was at the Hudson River Park, Chelsea Hudson River Park, doing my Kidong [a type of martial art] when I heard this huge explosion and I thought it was something at the river, so I was waiting for the the fire truck to come," said Lien Corey.

"I went to Whole Foods to get tee tree oil for my cat's ringworm and I saw just endless, you know, fire trucks and firefighters and cops.

"And I saw people without shirts and wounds, you know, sort of sitting next to the fire trucks."

'Why would anyone do this?'

"We're in disbelief while it was happening, saying like how, why would anybody do this on purpose, especially in this part of town," said RJ Demello.

"And so it makes it even more concerning because you're kind of like what is, why, and now it can be truly anywhere so ... you're always kind of going to be looking over your shoulder I guess."

'Only a matter of time before something happens'

"I don`t like to jump to conclusions, I think I want to know the facts first before people throw around the 'terrorist' word," said Brian Klipsch.

"I don`t want to assume that yet, but I think it`s interesting with everything going on in the world, I think people in New York think it`s just a matter of time until something happens here and that`s an uneasy feeling."

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