Oh buoy! – bomb scare after navigation marker is mistaken for mine
- Credit: Archant
An old mooring buoy prompted a bomb scare after it washed up onto the beach and was mistaken for an unexploded mine.
HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold responded to a 999 call when a member of the public reported a 'mine' had washed up at Pakefield Beach.
Upon arrival the crew set up a 100m exclusion zone and sent pictures of the object to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Regiment of the Royal Engineers.
Rescue officer David Burwood said: 'On receiving the pictures the EOD instructed us not to touch it as it was believed to be a bomb.
'The bomb disposal unit from Portsmouth were then dispatched to investigate further.
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'With the time of year and the storms we have had in recent weeks there was a fear it could be an old sea mine which had washed up.'
Due to the potential risk the coastguard team closed off the beach to the public.
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Mr Burwood said: 'It is very rare for us to close off a beach unless it is deemed to be a matter of urgency.'
Police were not called to attend the scene as the location of the object placed it solely in the jurisdiction of the coastguard.
Due to the lengthy nature of the call-out, which took place on January 10, the Gorleston Coastguard team were tasked to take over the exclusion zone in early afternoon and monitor the situation until the EOD arrived.
At around 4.45pm the EOD arrived at Pakefield Beach and inspected the unknown object.
Mr Burwood said: 'They examined the item and it was found to be an old mooring buoy and there was no cause for alarm.'
Although the bomb scare proved to be a false alarm the rescue officer was keen to encourage the public to stay alert for ordnance when using the beach.
He said: 'To be fair to the person who called 999 it did look exactly like a mine.
'It is important the public remain alert during this time of year.
'If you see an item you are unsure about; don't risk it, don't touch it. Just call 999.'