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Statue of Liberty briefly evacuated

Several hundred people were briefly evacuated from New York's Statue of Liberty Wednesday after a faulty sensor detected smoke.
Image: The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty, pictured earlier this summer, was evacuated Wednesday due to smoke in an elevator.Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
/ Source: Reuters

Several hundred people were briefly evacuated from New York's Statue of Liberty Wednesday after a faulty sensor detected smoke.

The landmark tourist attraction was reopened an hour later.

"There was no smoke or heat observed," said Mindi Rambo, spokeswoman for the National Parks of New York Harbor.

The 2 p.m. evacuation was initially thought to have been caused by a malfunctioning elevator motor, but authorities later determined the sensor was inaccurate.

The Statue of Liberty was closed to the public because of safety concerns after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The crown was reopened a year ago while the museum gallery and observation deck at the statue's base were reopened to the public in 2004.

The statue was a gift to the United States from France in 1886 and it is visited by several million people a year.

A symbol of freedom and democracy and a prominent draw for tourists, the statue was one of the first sights seen by millions of immigrants who arrived in New York Harbor in the 19th and 20th centuries.