– At 6:28 p.m. Saturday, a New York Police Department surveillance camera caught a dark green sport utility vehicle going west on 45th Street.
- About 6:30 p.m., a T-shirt vendor - a Vietnam veteran - noticed an unoccupied SUV on 45th Street, just off 7th Avenue. The vendor alerted New York Police Officer Wayne Rhatigan.
Rhatigan saw a Nissan Pathfinder with its engine running and its lights flashing. He noticed smoke coming from the backseat and smelled gunpowder.
- "I told my friend, 'Yo yo look at this!' I mean it looks like fireworks inside," said Hamid Boubaln, another street vendor. "I don't know; it's hard to explain. After that, like 15 minutes later, the smoke came out.
And one of the officers came and he started kicking everybody from the corner for safety."
- Officers immediately evacuated the area - from 43rd and 47th, between 6th and 8th avenues. The south tower of the Marriott Marquis hotel was also evacuated.
- "They told us to go straight to 47th street," said Pamela Hall, who was at a McDonald's when a police officer told her to pick up her food and leave. "Nobody was frightened. The cops weren't upset and the people were not noticeably upset. We were all just perplexed. We just went to 47th street and ended up taking pictures and watching."
- Firefighters, emergency medical personnel and the bomb squad descended on the scene.
- The bomb squad confirmed that the vehicle did "indeed contain an explosive device," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
- Inside the Nissan Pathfinder, police found three propane tanks, two filled five-gallon gasoline containers, two clocks with batteries, consumer-grade fireworks. The wiring around the device looked "amateurish," the
mayor said. Also inside was a locked metal box that resembled a gun locker.
- The vehicle's VIN number had been removed. The Pathfinder's license plate was taken from another truck.
- Police heightened security in other boroughs but nothing suspicious was reported anywhere else.
- About 10:45 p.m., President Barack Obama was updated on the situation and said the federal government was prepared to provide support.
- Two federal officials said Sunday it was too early to tell whether the incident involved al Qaeda or another international terror group. The national threat level remained at "Yellow," or elevated.
- Shortly before 3 a.m., a robot from the city police department's bomb squad smashed through the back window of the SUV and retrieved the box. It was taken to a bomb squad facility in the Bronx.
- The forensics on the bomb component will take time and are complex, a federal law enforcement official said. But, the official said, "the scientists can do wonders."
- "We avoided what could have been a very deadly event," Bloomberg said. "It certainly could have exploded and had a pretty big fire and a decent amount of explosive impact."
- Shortly before 6 a.m., the Pathfinder was loaded on to the back of a flatbed truck, covered with a yellow tarp and towed away, apparently to the Bronx facility.
- Police will comb through surveillance camera footage to determine who left the Pathfinder. Authorities may also appeal to the public to provide personal photos taken at the time, a federal law enforcement official said.