The family then went back on its merry way, unaware of the awesome danger they narrowly dodged.
A few days later, officials from Pembrey Country Park announced that a World War II era sea mine had washed up on the beach.
A friend of the Gravell’s had seen the pictures of their trip to the beach on Facebook and put two and two together. She and her husband were flabbergasted to discover that they had been within moments and inches of being deceased.
“We’ll definitely think twice before messing with something like that in the future,” she said upon being informed of the true nature of the metal ball on the beach.
The press officer for Carmarthenshire County Council, Allison Thomas-David, said that it’s common for things to wash up on the beach and she agreed that the object looked like a buoy.
The mine was secured and later the local bomb squad was brought in. They detonated the antique killer in a controlled explosion.
Literally hundreds of thousands of sea mines were deployed during World War II by all sides. After the war, the United States Alone had over twenty five thousand mines to recover. The US Navy proved unable to collect all of them and over thirteen thousand were deliberately left unswept. Over the course of 30 years, more than five hundred minesweepers have been sunk or severely damaged trying to dispose of the remaining mines.
The use of naval mines did not end after the Second World War. They were the leading cause of allied ship damage during the Korean Conflict, and during the eight year Iran/Iraq war, they were a major problem in the Persian Gulf.
As recently as the first Gulf war, two American ships were damaged by Iraqi sea mines.
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