Ostend beach partially evacuated following war munitions discovery

Ostend beach partially evacuated following war munitions discovery
Credit: Belga / Stringer

Part of the beach in Ostend was evacuated early Sunday afternoon after war munitions were discovered by a passerby, Ostend Police confirmed.

A tourist discovered what was first believed to be an 18cm grenade at around 12.20 pm on the beach of Oosteroever, one of the quietest beaches of the seaside resort. The suspected grenade was located a few hundred metres east of the eastern breakwater, near Fort Napoleon.

The tourist who discovered the object immediately notified the emergency services and the army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service is on the spot (SEDEE) was sent to the scene.

An update

According to the local police, the initial findings pointed to a grenade or a shell. After some investigation, it appeared the object was not a grenade but may be a 50-calibre ammunition round with a diameter of about 18 centimetres.

"An eroded head was sticking out of the sand, which had all the characteristics of an explosive. Moreover, it is not uncommon for such explosives of war to suddenly resurface after many years due to time, ebb and flow," said spokesman Timmy Van Assche.

The munitions of war were eventually taken away by the SEDEE (Service d'enlèvement et de destruction d'engins explosifs) for further processing. "The procedure and safety instructions were followed correctly, there was no danger of explosion at any time."

At around 14:30, the security perimeter was lifted.

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