A practice bomb dating back to World War II washed ashore on a California beach on New Year’s Eve, following a weekend of dangerously high waves that affected much of the state’s coast.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office’s bomb team responded to a call at Pajaro Dunes, situated between Santa Cruz and Monterey, around 2:20 p.m. on Sunday. Technicians from the bomb team discovered an ordnance item suspected to be a practice bomb.
Due to the bomb’s size and deteriorated condition, the Travis Air Force Base Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was summoned to assess it. Following an on-site visual inspection and an X-ray scan, technicians confirmed that the bomb was inactive and did not contain explosives.
The item was identified as a U.S. World War II-era Navy practice bomb. Once it was deemed safe, the bomb was removed from the beach and secured with the Travis Air Force Base Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
Unexploded military ordnance poses significant risks as they can explode if disturbed or removed. Authorities urge people to exercise caution when encountering suspicious items and report them to the authorities.
These discoveries highlight the remnants of past wars, with unexploded ordnance found across the world. In some regions, people are still at risk from these devices. After World War II, thousands of unexploded bombs were left behind by the United States and Japan. Efforts have been made to clear unexploded ordnance in various countries, including the allocation of millions of dollars for clearance and training programs.
Sunday’s discovery coincided with hazardous sea conditions that affected California’s central and southern coasts, resulting in powerful swells. High surf and coastal flooding alerts were issued along the coasts as a storm system impacted the state. Waves as high as 20 feet were predicted, and residents in coastal communities were advised to stay away from beaches due to life-threatening conditions. Videos on social media showed waves causing damage to roads and vehicles along the coast.