Assateague fully reopens after ordnance discovered on shore

June 29, 2013|By Candy Thomson, The Baltimore Sun

The final sections of beach at the Assateague Island National Seashore and Assateague State Park have reopened to beachgoers after more than 100 pieces of World War II-vintage ordnance were discovered washed ashore earlier this week.

Munitions experts from the Army Corps of Engineers visually inspected North Ocean Beach and southernmost portion of the state park beach and swept them with detection equipment during a two-day search for more unexploded ordnance and debris left behind by the Navy when Assateague was used for target practice.

No live ordnance was recovered during the survey, which allowed officials from both parks to reopen the beaches, said national seashore spokeswoman Rachelle Daigneault.

On Tuesday, Assateague's North Ocean Beach and nearby areas were evacuated to allow an Army bomb squad from Aberdeen Proving Grounds to gather and destroy debris and unexploded ordnance in two controlled detonations that sent geysers of sand rocketing into the air. As a precaution, park officials kept one quarter-mile section of beach closed until the Corps of Engineers could conduct a thorough search, Daigneault said.

Officials warned that it is possible for more fragments, debris and other ordnance to wash ashore or be exposed by the surf and visitors should report any sightings.

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