The 'elaborate and sophisticated' device has been safely removed! Police had tried for 10 hours to defuse the bomb, that by most reports, was forcibly strapped to an 18 year old schoolgirl — with a ransom note — in an apparent extortion attempt. Traditional TV and radio news outlets had only run scattered updates since the evening news, so an astonished public turned to Twitter in droves. Here's a live feed.
My heart and hopes go out to the girl concerned.
I'm sure you'll join me in sincerely hoping it all comes to a safe conclusion as soon as possible.
Scroll down for live tweet feed and original video reports... Image/video: Seven Network
UPDATE, 11AM: A "very, very elaborate hoax", said NSW Police, "we had to treat it seriously until we could prove otherwise." They don't believe Madeleine Pulver was complicit, and reports suggest she may have been victim to an extortion attempt on her father William, CEO of Appen Butler Hill — the company working with Microsoft to give the Xbox Kinect Aussie voice controls.
- Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard: "The first thing I said was it's like a Hollywood script...the kind of thing you would see at the cinema or on TV."
UPDATE, 12:20AM: Great news. After ten hours, the girl has been released from the bomb! No doubt there will be more news when daylight hits.
- Assistant NSW police commissioner Mark Murdoch: "The important thing ladies and gentlemen...is the young lady is safe."
- "I've been around a long time, and this is certainly one of the most unusual situations I've seen."
- "Elaborate and sophisticated" device remains intact
- Advice from British military and Federal Police helped
UPDATE, 10:45PM: In a second televised media conference, the assistant police commissioner provided a further update 8 hours into the drama:
"We're speaking to a number of agencies, not internationally, but within in Australia — the AFP (Australian Federal Police) in particular. We are making enquiries internationally, but we're not speaking to any international agency. We're doing a fair bit of research..."
"This operation is serious, it is delicate, and we will just need to persevere and take as long as it takes to ensure this young lady's safety. There is a device which we are examining, and it is proving a tough nut to crack what it is, and what it is not. And until such time as we can determine what it is, we will continue to treat it very seriously."
"She's doing a great job keeping her emotions in check, and police are doing their utmost to keep her calm, engage her in conversation...As you would expect, her parents are doing it pretty rough."
"We have a parameter in place to protect the scene, and to protect other people from being injured. We have evacuated other residences. It would be foolish to put other people at risk."
- Four specialist police are with her, including bomb disposal and negotiators to calm the girl.
- No contact has been made with the person who is believed to have left the device.
- No further police updates are planned tonight. More in the morning.
UPDATE, 9PM: ABC News 24 and Sky News are now tracking the story more closely. In an earlier televised media scrum, Assistant NSW police commissioner Mark Murdoch refused to confirm an extortion attempt, but did say the Serious Crimes Squad who are on scene specialise in extortion.
- Anyone who might have seen suspicious activity Burrawong Avenue is requested to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
- "We are still treating the suspicious package as live"
The incident in Mosman, one of Sydney's wealthiest suburbs, started around 2:30pm today. It was originally thought that the girl was threatening to hurt herself, however the gravity of the situation soon became clear.