See the moment dumped distress flare is blown up after dangerous pyrotechnic is found by teenager on Northumberland beach

A sharp-eyed teenager has been praised after spotting a washed up abandoned flare which had the potential to kill if it detonated.

Friday, 17th July 2020, 5:57 pm

Katie Green, 14, was walking with her family and their dog on the beach at Embleton Bay late yesterday, Thursday, July 16, when she saw the item on the sand just north of Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club.

Her step-father Ian Woods is the station officer with Howick Coastguard Rescue Team, with an assessment leading to the decision that due to the incoming tide and fading light, the item would have to be dealt with later.

Just before 6.10am today, the officers returned, with an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team Army sent from Catterick.

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Andrew Cowan captured the moment the flare was detonated by the Army team.

It confirmed the item, believed to be a distress or parachute illuminating flare, was live, with a controlled explosion carried out and the cordon taken down by 10.30am.

Ian said: “We were out on the beach with the dog and Katie was up ahead of us and saw it and did exactly the right thing, she stood back from it, didn’t touch it.

"These pyrotechnics have a shelf-life and responsible boat owners and mariners know to dispose of them in the appropriate manner, but unfortunately some done and of course there are situations where things get washed overboard, and then they get washed up on shore.

Howick Coastguard Rescue Team took this photo of the device before it was detonated.

"It’s difficult to say what happened here, but if someone had picked up that pyrotechnic and it had gone off in their hand, they would have died.

"I’m very proud of Katie for what she did.

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"If anyone finds something like that on the beach, people should ring 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

The remains of the flare following the operation pictured by Howick Coastguard Rescue Team.

"The Northumberland coast was used as a range during the Second World War, from Druridge up to Berwick, so a lot of ordnance gets washed up on our coastline.”

The team has also sent its thanks to the golf course for supplying coffee and for helping in closing the footpaths to the beach.

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