Possible land mine found on Indian River County beach
Emergency crews responded to an Indian River County beach Wednesday morning after authorities said a possible land mine was found.
The Indian River County Sheriff's Office said an "old military ordnance" was spotted on the beach in the 1800 block of South Highway A1A, south of Vero Beach.
An ordnance can include all kinds of military supplies, typically for combat, like weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles, and maintenance equipment.
In this case, the sheriff's office identified the item as a "possible land mine."
Authorities from Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County responded to the scene, along with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office and Indian River County Fire Rescue, and removed the device from the beach.
A witness told WPTV someone checking on sea turtle nests Wednesday morning found the ordnance.
Patrick Air Force Base staff members said the equipment was possibly from the 1930s. They put it in a box and took it away, according to the witness.
The Indian River County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook that an "all clear" was given and no one was hurt.
"It's been going on for a long time," said Andy Brady, who works for the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce.
Brady said he’s heard of at least a dozen similar discoveries over the years.
"When I first started working here, people would actually bring things into the museum and say, here, look what I found. And we’d say, here, get out with that," Brady said.
This area during the 40s was a prominent 20,000-acre training base for the Navy, and more than 100,000 men came here to learn amphibious warfare.
"They chose Fort Pierce because the beaches were more suitable for what they wanted to do. Iit was warmer, and the amount of annoying insects and environmental terrain was what they were looking for. So they wanted it to be tough? The tougher the better," Brady said.
And part of the training conducted here included testing the strength of fortified barriers and blowing up obstacles that troops could face when trying to move ashore.
"I know guys that grew up here in World War II, said it was 24/7 explosions. I’m sure if the turtle people were here back then they would have lost their minds," Brady said.
But after the base closed, Brady said the cleanup wasn’t exactly thorough.
"They lost track of them. They left a lot of them here," Brady said.
Which is why to this day, no one knows how many old weapons might become uncovered or wash up.
"No big deal. You never know, you might dig a hole and find one," Brady said.
Meaning beach walkers and those living on the water still have a shot at finding some of the area’s buried history.
Scripps Only Content 2022