Eastern Cape Police have warned the Uitenhage community to guard against physically picking up or handing any strange/foreign objects that they recover at the Strelitzia Dam.
This after two residents in the area discovered two old and unused mortars on Friday. A mortar is an artillery weapon which fires explosive shells.
“[They] transported them not realising that they could have had fatal effects. It was later discovered that these two mortars was in fact still live and could have detonated. The SAPS Bomb Disposal Unit from Port Elizabeth were informed and the mortars were deactivated,” said Uitenhage police spokesperson Captain Gerda Swart.
On Saturday, Swart said in the statement, a man was fishing at the same dam and a third live mortar was discovered.
“The man also unknowingly handled it. Fortunately, he notified the police and the Bomb Disposal Unit was immediately summoned to the scene and took possession. The dam levels have fallen over the last few months and it is believed that this could be the reason for the recent discoveries,” reads the statement.
Police is advising the public should they stumble upon anything strange or anything that resembles a mortar (as depicted in the picture), not to handle or pick it up, instead to immediately contact Uitenhage police on 041 9963434/36/38. By mishandling, these mortars can detonate and may have fatal consequences.
Police are busy consulting with the municipality to close the dam so that a thorough search can be conducted by the Bomb Disposal Unit to ensure that all of these mortars are retrieved.