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Three bombs from WWII found in Florida bay, military says. Now, they’ll be detonated

(Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

The waters along Florida’s Panhandle islands are hiding live World War II-era bombs and the U.S. military intends to detonate three in the name of public safety, according to Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Eglin Air Force Base reports the bombs were found in January in Choctawhatchee Bay, which borders popular tourist destinations such as Destin and Fort Walton Beach.

The discoveries include two 250-pound bombs and a 1,000-pound bomb, which are estimated to be approximately 80 years old, federal and county officials said in a Feb. 12 news release.

All three are considered relics of an era when parts of the area were used as bombing ranges, historians say.

Some bombs were intentionally inert, while others never exploded, resulting in live ordnance that grew increasingly unstable as it deteriorated.

Divers from a Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit intend to detonate the three bombs below the surface on Feb. 14, the sheriff’s office said. Feb. 15 has been set as an alternative date, if marine mammals are present or the weather proves dangerous, officials said.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractors are credited with finding the bombs in two different spots: The 250-pound bombs are near Two Georges Marina in Shalimar, Florida, and the 1,000-pound bomb was found “during an Air-Force funded routine remedial investigation of the Bay Legacy Range.”

Residents and businesses around the bay will not be required to evacuate during the explosions, but “people, vessels, and water-based activities” will be kept 2,050 yards from the activity, the sheriff’s office said.

“The U.S. Coast Guard Destin and Okaloosa Sheriff’s office will have people in the area to prevent boaters from entering the safety zone,” officials said.

News of the planned detonations comes just a week after the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office reported finding a 1,000-pound WWII bomb buried near Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

The bomb was found at a spot once used as a weapons range, county officials said.

Investigators declared the bomb inert, and a team from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa planned to remove it.


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