Treasure hunter finds WWII ordnance on Tumon Bay - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Treasure hunter finds WWII ordnance on Tumon Bay

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - Parts of Tumon Bay were evacuated this afternoon after one man's hunt for treasure uncovered something more.

Thirty feet from the shore of Reef Hotel, a local man and his metal detector uncovered a reminder from the island's past. "There was a person in the water with a metal detector and they found a five inch US naval projectile that's armed," Navy EOD Senior Chief Petty Officer Brian Fitzgerald. Just in time for Guam's 70th Liberation Day celebrations, Senior Chief Fitzgerald says the projectile dates back to World War II.

Measuring in at 18" long and 5" in diameter, the item put a shutdown to areas of the beach from Westin Resort to Reef Hotel as the Guam Police Department, Guam Fire Department, Office of Civil Defense/Guam Homeland Security, and EOD responded to the scene.

"That's why they had to close the beach off. Our personnel are down there doing the mitigation for it right now. We're going to relocate it to a different location. Once we do that we'll be able to bring it back to Naval Magazine for disposal," he explained.

Gun Beach was also evacuated later this afternoon. EOD transferred the unexploded ordnance to the site where they created a sand barrier before detonating it. "It's basically like a giant bullet but inside that bullet is anywhere from six to seven pounds of explosives," said Fitzgerald. "It's seven pounds of explosives so it's pretty dangerous. That's why we had to close out the beach. It all depends on where it's located and what type of structure is in front of it. But it will definitely do some damage."

Although the man looking for treasure was probably surprised by the unexpected find, Fitzgerald says this marks the 61st unexploded ordnance recovered for 2014. In addition to the beach, UXO are popularly recovered in Agat and Asan as well.

"We get about 150 calls a year for World War II US UXO on Guam," he said.

But what do you do if you think you've uncovered a potential explosive?

"If a civilian calls it in we have to understand that that person is now at risk because there's a UXO nearby and we have to make sure we take care of that as soon as possible," he said. "We don't want any kids stepping on anything like white phosphorus or picking up hand grenades. So if you see something, if you can take a picture. Don't touch it.

"Call the authorities like Guam Homeland Security or the police, and they'll the word out to us and we'll take care of it as soon as possible."
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