THE public has been warned to stay away from Camp Lejeune after unexploded mines and ammunition were found on a stretch of beach at the base.
The warning comes just weeks after three children were found dead at the Marine Corps training base in Jacksonville, North Carolina on April 16.
Officials have warned that one wrong step on the hidden explosives located on Browns Island could potentially be fatal, WCTI reports.
Some of the ammunition fired during training drills dates back to before World War II.
Camp Lejeune’s Range Control Officer Nicholas Klaus said: “Over the years, there have been thousands and thousands and thousands of live rounds of ammunition aimed at this area.”
He warned that up to 10 percent of the ammunition may not explode for years.
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Klaus added: “It may look like just a piece of ruddy, crusty metal. But in all likelihood, it could be an unexploded bomb and if you shift it the wrong way or it just decides now is the time to go off, it could go off and certainly could injure you.”
Meanwhile, Captain Will Mueller, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, warned: “We can’t make any of these areas safe.”
Warning the public to stay away, he described Browns Island as “too hazardous” for boaters and beachgoers.
In September 2021, base officials sent warning letters to those who trespassed on Browns Island.
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Military police and the US Coast Guard monitor the beach and if caught, violators could get a six-month jail sentence or a fine worth up to $5,000, according to Camp Lejeune’s Browns Island policy.
Last June, officials unearthed a 250-pound unexploded device that dated back to World War II, The Jacksonville Daily News reported.
Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Guillory said: “Any movement or jarring of the UXO (unexploded ordnance) especially by boat or watercraft, could be enough to function and create a detonation.”
Guillory warned that if the device detonated, it was strong enough to destroy an armored vehicle.
And, the impact of Hurricane Florence in 2018, which left North Carolina reeling, helped officials unearth previously hidden unexploded ammunition.
Last month, the base was rocked after three kids, including a four-month-old baby boy, were found dead.
The baby passed away at his parents’ home in Midway Park. His name hasn’t been revealed.
His cause of death also remains unknown as his death certificate says “pending”, WITN reported.
And, two siblings, four and six, passed away at their parents' home in the Berkeley Manor housing area.
Officials have confirmed no gun was involved but a spokesperson for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service refused to provide any further details.
They said: "Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS does not comment on or confirm details relating to ongoing investigations."
In January, two Marine Corps were killed near the military base.
Lance Cpl. Jonathan Gierke, 19, and Pcf. Zachary W. Riffle, 18 died after their military vehicle rolled over.
The 2nd Marines Logistics Group confirmed that a total of 17 other people had been injured.
MCB Camp Lejeune, which has been used since 1941, has 14 miles of beach that are used for amphibious assault training.
Between 1953-87, people living or working at the base were potentially exposed to toxic water.
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Toxins included trichloroethylene, benzene, and perchloroethylene and the concentration of the water was between 240-3400 times higher than the level allowed by safety standards at the time.
Decades later, scientists linked possible exposure to toxic water to diseases such as kidney cancer, leukemia, and liver cancer.
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