Report Offers Lessons Learned from UXO Boating Accident

Norfolk, England Fishermen hauling in their equipment reportedly set off a WWII bomb on the seabed, causing an explosion that almost sank the boat and injuring five crew members, according to a Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report just released. The report details the accident which took place just over a year ago off the coast of Norfolk.

The vessel was hauling in crab pots when it disturbed the 250-kg bomb, triggering shock waves that tossed the boat, wounding five of the seven crew members. Injuries sustained included significant head, back and knee injuries, and the boat's hull and machinery were badly damaged.

Following the explosion, the crew was able to send out a distress message and launch the life raft. They were picked up by rescue boats sent from a nearby support vessel.

The report goes on to state that the boat was not directly hit by fragments of the bomb. It states, "It is likely that direct exposure to the full detonation of ordnance, containing 123kg explosive charge, would have blown the vessel apart. Although the physical injuries were significant to five of the seven crew, they were fortunate not to be killed."

The report also identifies two key safety issues for others to learn from. One being that UXO remain highly volatile even after many years underwater. The second is that the boat's crew could not have anticipated disturbing the bomb with the strings connected to the crab pots. The training, experience and emergency preparedness of the crew improved their chances of survival.

The MAIB report concluded, "The aim of this report is to highlight the dangers that still exist with unexploded ordnance in the seas around the UK, and the actions to take should fisherman encounter any. In this case, the skipper and crew could not have foreseen the explosion and their level of preparedness to deal with such an emergency saved lives."

90-year-old Man Helps to Prevent Potential UXO Catastrophe

Maella, Spain Spanish police were called after a 90-year-old man notified a property owner that the spot where his was building could likely contain UXO. The elderly man recounted a story from his childhood during which, as a six-year-old, he saw that one of the bombs dropped by the air force there during Spanish Civil War did not explode.

A search was launched, and a metal detector did indeed find the unexploded bomb located at the foundations of the facility under construction. Police sappers (combat engineers) excavated the UXO and safely detonated it at one of the proving grounds in Aragon.

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Magnet Fishermen Discover Large Quantity of Explosive Devices

Failsworth, England Magnet fishing enthusiast, Sophie Doyle, was one of a small group of magnetic fishermen who discovered over 1,000 potential underwater explosive items in a canal at Daisy Nook Country Park. Police, EOD, and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service responded to the call of what is believed to be railway track explosives.

In a social media post, Doyle said that the devices "seem to be absolutely everywhere" in the canal and that the police and bomb squad were "in shock when they saw what we had all retrieved from the water."

A cordon was in place for several hours while the items were removed and taken away for testing. A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said, "Officers were called to a report of possible unexploded devices found in a canal in Daisy Nook Country Park in Stannybrook Road, Failsworth, just after 5.30pm on Sunday. All devices were removed and the area open again at 9pm. Devices were taken away by the EOD for testing."

EOD Clears the Way for a Visit to Historic Fort Sill Landmark

Fort Sill, Oklahoma U.S. Army EOD technicians from the 761st Ordnance Company carried out a two-day mission to clear a path through 145 UXO on an artillery range to a historic building. The operation allowed 40 senior leaders from the Fires Center of Excellence to safely visit the blockhouse, built in the 1800s when Fort Sill was a frontier outpost and home to the "Buffalo Soldiers" of the 10th Cavalry Regiment.

The blockhouse was constructed for use as an observation point and as a weather and signaling station. "Blockhouse has been used as a reference point to locate and fire on targets," said Capt. Matthew J. Piranian, the commander of the 761st EOD Company. "Just about every artilleryman in the Army uses the Blockhouse as a reference point during their training at Fort Sill, making it a famous landmark."

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Man Arrested For Brining Hand Grenade To Airport

Free State, South Africa A 28-year-old man was arrested at Bram Fischer after a hand grenade was allegedly found in his luggage. A security officer initially discovered a metallic object after scanning the man's luggage through an x-ray. A subsequent physical search of the bag confirmed the item to be a hand grenade.

The man, who was en route to Cape Town, had dropped off his bag at the check-in counter at the airport. Police were called to the scene and they immediately evacuated the airport. The bomb disposal unit was also called to conduct a sweep of the area.

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EOD Respond to Artillery Shell Which Had 'Seen Better Days'

Cumbria, United Kingdom British Army EOD and teams from Whitehaven and Maryport Coastguard responded to St. Bees Beach after a report of a potential UXO. The ordnance, identified as a 105 mm artillery shell, prompted a cordon in the area as EOD disposed of the item in place.

A spokesman for the Whitehaven Coastguard Rescue Team issued a statement commending citizens for their patience, "Thanks again to the understanding members of the public at St Bees for waiting patiently while we kept a cordon in place to allow the Army EOD to do their work to make the beach safe. What we had was, we're told, a 105 artillery shell, which, as you can see by the photographs had seen better days however was still potentially dangerous. Thanks to Maryport Coastguard Rescue Team for your assistance, to the first informant from St Bees RNLI and to Hartley's Beach Shop and Tea Rooms the previous day for your hospitality!"


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