Times Square attack: Lucky escape for Singaporean family on holiday

New York City police stand on a corner in Times Square a day after a man prematurely detonated a suicide bomb in nearby Port Authority Bus Terminal.
New York City police stand on a corner in Times Square a day after a man prematurely detonated a suicide bomb in nearby Port Authority Bus Terminal.PHOTO: AFP

A Singaporean family holidaying in New York City would have been at Times Square during the time of the bomb attack on Monday if not for a change of plans.

Seventeen-year-old student Darius Lee told The Straits Times yesterday that he had been in the city with his parents and older brother.

"We had initially planned to walk a few blocks down from our hotel to the Good Morning America broadcasting studio at Times Square to watch the morning news live telecast," said Darius.

But at 6am on Monday, the family decided not to go.

Around 7.20am, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi man set off a low-tech makeshift pipe bomb strapped to his body in an underground subway corridor connecting Times Square to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan.

When Darius' family heard about the bomb blast that rocked the heart of Manhattan's busiest subway corridor, they were "shocked but also relieved".

Darius spoke to The Straits Times from Frankfurt in Germany, where his family was in transit on the way home to Singapore.

 
 

His brother, 26-year-old corporate strategy manager Darren Lee, said the family had stayed five nights at The Wellington Hotel and visited nearby Times Square several times.

He added that he felt "rather safe" after the incident, because of the multiple New York Police Department (NYPD) deployment operations in the area.

Mr Lee also said that there was an NYPD command post in the heart of Times Square after the incident.

The attack will not deter the family from pursuing their love for travelling.

"As terror attacks become increasingly commonplace, we have accepted them as an inevitable part of life, including travelling overseas," said Darius.

"But we always avoid large-scale events overseas like concerts or festive markets in light of attacks happening at crowded places such as those in Paris and Nice."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2017, with the headline 'Lucky escape for S'pore family on holiday'. Print Edition | Subscribe