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US Navy detonates unexploded WWII-era ordnance off Hawaii

HONOLULU — U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal technicians have detonated two World War II-era bombs and removed other ordnance in waters off a Hawaiian island.

The Navy carried out the controlled explosions Monday in a well-traveled channel between Lanikai Beach and Mokulua North on Oahu, an area also known as Mokunui Islet, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

A snorkeler reportedly discovered the munitions and contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, which alerted the Navy.

The ordnance included two 100-pound (45-kilogram) gravity bombs with fuses that were detonated where they were found because it was potentially dangerous to move them.

Unexploded ordnance is destroyed during a controlled detonation off Lanikai Beach by sailors assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1 (MDSU 1) Detachment EOD in Kailua, Hawaii, on April 27, 2020. (MC2 Charles Oki/Navy)
Unexploded ordnance is destroyed during a controlled detonation off Lanikai Beach by sailors assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1 (MDSU 1) Detachment EOD in Kailua, Hawaii, on April 27, 2020. (MC2 Charles Oki/Navy)

About eight other bombs or ordnance without fuses were moved in an inflatable boat to Bellows Air Force Station ahead of transportation to Pearl Harbor or the U.S. Army’s Schofield Barracks for demolition.

Officials are not sure how the munitions got to where they were found but said they may have been dropped during wartime exercises.

Unexploded ordnance from training exercises before and after the United States entered World War II in December 1941 is routinely discovered in waters off Oahu and on land.

All of the offshore islets are state wildlife sanctuaries. A perimeter path around Mokulua North is the only section visitors are allowed to traverse. The area is also popular with kayakers and stand-up paddlers.

Personnel from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1 (MDSU 1) Detachment EOD, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Honolulu Police Department observe a controlled detonation of unexploded ordnance off Lanikai Beach in Kailua, Hawaii, on April 27, 2020. (MC2 Charles Oki/Navy)
Personnel from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1 (MDSU 1) Detachment EOD, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Honolulu Police Department observe a controlled detonation of unexploded ordnance off Lanikai Beach in Kailua, Hawaii, on April 27, 2020. (MC2 Charles Oki/Navy)
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