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Statue of Liberty evacuated after suspicious package reported

The Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island were evacuated Friday after a suspicious package was reported.

Statue Cruises, which operates the ferries that carry tourists to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, said officials found a suspicious package at Liberty Island.

NBC New York reported the evacuation began about 1 p.m., or 10 a.m. in Arizona. The all-clear was given about two hours later.

The ferry company was postponing all service to the island until the investigation was completed, said Mike Burke, its chief operating officer and vice president.

The New York Police Department said Friday it had harbor units at the scene,
along with the National Park Service.

John Blount, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was in the statue’s crown, chatting with a park ranger.

“All of a sudden he got a call on his phone,” Blount said. “He said ‘OK’, looked up and said, ‘It’s time to leave.’ We had just made it up there.”

He said it was a very calm evacuation down. They got on a boat, and “we were just floating around out there for the past hour and a half.”

Eric Gustafson, of Worchester, Massachusetts, was on Liberty Island with his wife and son. They were about to enter the building for the tour when park rangers ushered “everyone to the flagpole” and then told them they had to leave.

“They didn’t give us a reason for it. The communication was lacking,” he said. About 90 minutes later, they were back in Manhattan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.