Usually a day at the beach is fun, but this family encountered something that they thought was harmless, but later realized they were lucky to be alive. A family in Wales went to the beach and saw what they thought was an old, barnacle encrusted buoy. The old ball of rusty steel had washed up on the shore near Burry Port in Wales.
Kelly Gravell and her family saw the object in the distance and went to go look at it. Her children were fascinated by the huge metallic sphere with all the barnacles and seaweed stuck to it. They took pictures with it and played with it. Her kids even hit it with their hands. They then left, unaware that they had put themselves in danger.
A few days later, officials from Pembrey Country Park made an announcement that a World War ll era sea mine had washed up on the beach. A friend of the family saw the pictures of their beach trip on Facebook and put two and two together.
Kelly and her husband were shocked to realize that they had been standing right beside a sea mine, and could have been killed at any second if it had gone off.
Kelly says ‘We were more fascinated by the barnacles on it. I even made a joke that it was a big bomb at the time, but did not think anything of it. It’s only afterwards when the reality had set in that we were actually very lucky.’ She says ‘We’ll definitely think twice before messing with something like that in the future.’
The Carmarthenshire County Council press officer, Allison Thomas David explained that it’s common for things to wash up on the beach, and she agreed that it did look like a buoy. The mine had to be secured and later the local bomb squad was brought in. They detonated it in a controlled explosion.
Hundreds of thousands of sea mines were deployed during World War ll, and after the war the US Navy were unable to collect all of them. Over thirteen thousand were deliberately left unswept, and over the course of 30 years, more than five hundred minesweepers were sunk or damaged severely trying to dispose of the mines that were left over.