The attack would have killed hundreds, if not thousands. But he botched the job. Faisal Shahzad’s plan to blow up an SUV in Times Square would’ve caused catastrophic damage.
Federal investigators who’ve tested mock-ups of Shahzad’s Midtown car bomb said it would’ve killed anywhere from 200 to 250 pedestrians had it been assembled properly and injured as many as 1,000 in Times Square and along 45th Street.
The tests were conducted last month working off the written instructions convicted terrorist Shahzad received in Pakistan.
The feds discovered that the car bomb design he used works — that the combination of gasoline, propane, fertilizer and fireworks created an explosion about one-tenth the power of the truck bomb that detonated in Oklahoma back in 1995.
But the density of street traffic here in New York would have made the consequences of this bomb more deadly. Here’s what CBS 2 HD has learned:
* The SUV would’ve been blown apart by the explosion creating a blast radius of about 100 yards.
* Although windows would’ve broken along 45th Street, the bomb was not powerful enough to cause structural collapse.
* People walking along the street would’ve been injured or killed.
* On the Times Square side pedestrians within a 140-degree arc would’ve been hit by flames and debris.
* The total number of casualties is estimated at between 800 and 1,200 people.
With all the tall buildings in and around Times Square the spot Shahzad chose would’ve amplified the explosive effects of his device. It would’ve been a terrifying event.
But Shahzad picked the wrong kind of fertilizer, just as he chose the wrong type of fireworks to help detonate his propane tanks. His bomb, as constructed, would’ve at worst produced a fireball to burn and injure dozens.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly suggested that Shahzad improvised in purchasing his bomb materials to avoid capture and stay under the radar.