A Missouri woman clearing overgrowth from her backyard made an explosive find – a “live” World War II-era Japanese bomb.
Pamela Coffey said her Saturday started out normal enough at her home in rural Barnhart as she and her husband, Sam, cleared an unexplored part of their yard, where they had been finding “some really odd things,” she recalled on Facebook.
But nothing prepared her for the cylinder-like object she uncovered that was later confirmed by a bomb squad to be World War II Japanese Navy mortar.
“It’s been X-ray’d,” Coffey’s post continued. “It’s live … Seriously, my day just started off with me wanting to reroute some grape vines.”
Pamela told KSDK the mortar engraved with Japanese lettering was a “little bit larger” than her palm and left rust marks on the gardening gloves she was using.
Her husband then took a closer look while being unaware of the peculiar find.
“The next thing you know, I’m sitting at our dining room, table scraping on it with a steak knife trying to clean I out,” Sam Coffey told the station. “We’re trying to figure out what the heck this thing is when from the kitchen she yells, ‘Stop! I think it might be a bomb!’”
Pamela had used Google Lens image recognition technology to identify the bomb. The couple then called police and a team of responding investigators, including the St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson Unit, determined it was a bomb from Japan that had a 500-foot blast range.
“I want to see what that looks like!” Pamela told the station.
She got her wish as it was later detonated at the Scott Air Force in Clair County, where Explosive Ordinance Disposal personnel blew up the mortar. The team’s leader sent her footage of the detonation, according to her Facebook post.
“Fire in the hole!” a man says seconds before the mortar blows up — emitting a loud bang and a large fireball, the footage obtained by The Post shows.
It’s unclear how the bomb got onto the property, which Coffey said she moved into 16 months ago, CNN reported.
“They said this was super rare find and we’re lucky we found it before we started excavating,” Coffey told CNN, referring to planned work at the couple’s hillside property.
“We are now buying a metal detector before we get started,” she said. “It’s been a fun adventure.”
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