Munitions search continues Friday south of South Beach Park

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY VERO BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Army Corps of Engineers will continue its search Friday in digging for any possible bombs or ammunition left behind by the military decades ago.

The corps will be looking for the munitions between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday south of South Beach Park, Vero Beach Police said. The beach will not be closed, Vero Beach police spokesman Officer Dennis DeAcetis said.

It was unclear if evacuations were scheduled for nearby residents.

Police said the corps will put cones on the beach. The corps asks for beach goers to stay outside of the cones for their own safety.

The corps announced earlier this month they would continue the searches in the vicinity.

The search is part of a munitions program, where Army Corps officials search for weapons used or discarded by the military. The project covers areas from Vero Beach down to Jensen Beach, including North and South Hutchinson Islands, reports show.

The areas were known as the Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Training Base, which the Navy used during World War II. Corps officials have conducted ongoing searches for the potentially dangerous items since 2014, reports show.

The last confirmed munition found in the area was a World War II-era barrage rocket. The 7-inch rocket, found in a rock garden on an undeveloped patch of land, was being used as an ornament, Army Corps Public Affairs Specialist Amanda Parker said.

A munitions team from Patrick Air Force Base responded to the scene to dispose of the rocket. Other weapons used in World War II were also discovered on North Hutchinson Island in 2017 and in 1998, officials said.

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