Saturday, April 24, 2010

126 WWII-Era Grenades Caught With Clams

It's not unusual for East Coast fishermen to find grenades and other old munitions in their traps, but rarely do they find 126 at once.

Workers at the Fair Tide Shellfish plant were stunned Friday to find the World War II-era grenades as they began to process a load of clams that had been dredged up off Long Island and shipped to New Bedford for processing, Boston TV station WCVB reported.

Some of the vintage grenades had pins -- others did not-- but all were potentially dangerous.

"Come to find out, based on what the Navy said, they were live. They were loaded for bear so to speak," said Tom Slaughter of Fair Tide Shellfish.

There were entire cases of grenades still intact in their original wooden crates, covered in black muck from decades spent in deep waters.

"We thought they were like big chunks of black coal, the kind used in old ships. When one broke open, we found all the grenades inside. The cases were encompassed in black coal-like marine life," Slaughter said.

The plant was evacuated and the State Police Bomb Squad and the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team moved in. They moved the grenades out in a dump truck of sand.

The slow procession made its way to a nearby jetty, where experts set up an isolated, controlled site to detonate the old munitions.

The grenades were detonated safely in a spectacular blast at about 7:30 p.m. The shockwave from the blast was felt more than a mile away, but there were no injuries.

WCVB-TV, Boston; US Navy.

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