Officials in Long Island, New York are investigating an explosion that was felt miles away and left a crater on the beach on Sunday. Local and federal authorities are working to determine if it was a test for something more nefarious, including a potential terrorist attack.
The Suffolk County Police Department told Fox News that the device was detonated on Fox Island around 11:40 a.m. off the coast of West Babylon.
No injuries have been reported.
According to authorities, local police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are investigating the incident and have not ruled out the potential that it was a test for a possible terrorist attack.
“Terrorism is always a concern because people do test devices before using them,” a police spokeswoman told Fox. “The SCPD is investigating with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force on this investigation.”
The crater left behind after the explosion was 4 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Police are looking for a boat that was spotted leaving the area around the time of the blast.
The vessel was described as 23 feet long with stripes.
During a press conference, Suffolk County Police Acting Commissioner Stuart Cameron said, “Obviously our department is concerned as to why someone would detonate a device of this size and magnitude on an uninhabited island.”
“So we definitely want to find out who did it,” he continued, as reported by Newsday. “If you are the person responsible for this detonation, I encourage you to come forward and identify yourself to our department so we can find the root cause of this incident and allay any concerns for the public.”
“We do know that when people produce homemade explosives, very often they want to test those explosives to make sure they function as intended, so that is one of our concerns, and that is why we want to determine what transpired yesterday morning,” Cameron added.
Witnesses to the blast described it as being “so loud” and “a huge boom.”
“I had just gotten out of the shower and I actually thought something hit the roof, it was so loud,” nearby homeowner James Messina told CBS2.
The Babylon Public Safety Department received hundreds of phone calls over the explosion, and social media posts reacting to the blast came from as far as 16 miles away.
“It was just a huge boom. My first instinct was somebody’s boat exploded. But the way the smoke dissipated so rapidly, I figured someone set something off,” said John Sacchitello, who was almost knocked off his feet by the explosion.
Sacchitello said he saw said rise near Fox Island, which is over a mile offshore.
“I had no idea what it was. It’s definitely a scary situation because you don’t know what it is,” said Huntington resident Daniel Rivera.
“I saw a police boat — bay constable — go across the bay and approach a boat,” Babylon resident Roger Tursi said. “I hope they catch him because that’s not good.”