Unexploded cluster bomblets discovered near Doyle
Oct. 14, 2013 — Extremely dangerous unexploded ordnance — bomblets believed to be part of a larger cluster bomb — was discovered just off Highway 395 near Doyle earlier this month.
The bomblets, part of a larger cluster bomb that opens and releases the bomblets after being dropped from a warplane, are designed to injure and maim by breaking into small pieces of shrapnel when they explode.
U.S. Navy personnel from the Fallon Naval Air Station detonated the unexploded ordnance, known as UXO, in place, and personnel from local, state and federal agencies conducted multiple searches of the area.
Despite the searches, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office advises residents, “Unexploded military ordnance is extremely dangerous. It should never be tampered with or moved. If citizens encounter unexploded ordnance, they should report it immediately to local law enforcement.”
According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, on Oct. 3, deputies received a report of found explosives on public land in the Doyle area. A fire crew from Antelope Camp located the explosives while conducting fire abatement in the area.
The sheriff's office contacted an explosives team from the Fallon Naval Air Station. The Navy explosive ordnance disposal team responded and disposed of the explosives. The explosives were identified as BLU63 submunitions.
The BLU63 is a bomblet typically contained in a cluster bomb device that distributes multiple BLU63s. The BLU63 is a small round device about the size of a baseball. Navy EOD described the bomblets as highly explosive and volatile if tampered with or moved. The Navy’s standard procedure is to destroy these submunitions in place and not move them.
An Oct. 8 follow-up investigation by the sheriff's office discovered the potential of more sub munitions in the same area. The sheriff's office and Navy EOD personnel returned to the initial scene and located two additional bomblets. Several local fire agencies, the Lassen County Office of Emergency Services, the California Highway Patrol and CalTrans all responded to the area. The bomblets were discovered very near Highway 395, and the California Highway Patrol and CalTrans temporarily closed the state highway while the Navy team destroyed the bomblets.
On Oct. 12, the sheriff’s office, OES Coordinator and the Lassen County Search and Rescue Team returned to the Doyle area to conduct a more detailed search for additional bomblets. The all-volunteer search and rescue team, accompanied by sheriff’s personnel, conducted a ground search in the area. The search covered more than 50 acres. No other submunitions were found during the final search.
The sheriff’s office appreciates the support of all local, state and federal public safety partners who assisted with the safe destruction of the unexploded ordinance.
The sheriff also thanks the Lassen County Search and Rescue team. Those volunteers provided necessary personnel, mapping and other technology to help conduct a detailed public safety sweep of the area.
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