Three potentially explosive flares used as a reference point for at-sea military operations were found on Coos County beaches in November. One was found on a beach near Coos Bay on Nov. 16, and two were found in Bandon in late November.
“If someone finds what appears to be a flare or any explosive munition, call 911,” U.S. Coast Guard External Affairs Officer Cmdr. Mark McCadden said Thursday.More have been found on Oregon beaches in recent months than usual, according to a warning sent to coastal law enforcement departments by the Oregon State Police.
The MK 25 Marine Marker is a silver tube, 18 inches long and 3 inches in diameter, according to www.ordnance.org, a military equipment information website.
“The markers are designed to sink once they explode.” the site said. “Those that fail to explode may be tossed in waves, causing interior damage before washing up on shore. Damaged markers may explode if handled.”
Anyone who finds a MK 25 marker on a beach should not touch it and call 911 immediately, Brookings Police Lt. Donny Dotson said.
Whether it is an MK 25 or any other kind of military ordnance, the police need to be notified, Dotson and McCadden said.
Fishermen sometimes pull unexploded munitions into their boats in their fishing nets, McCadden said.
Boaters who find such items should call the Coast Guard, he said
Markers and other military ordnance found on Oregon beaches and waterways are managed by Oregon State Police or U.S. Air Force explosive ordnance disposal units.
The markers, which burn at 5,000 degrees on contact with the air, can cause third-degree burns, according to ordnance.org. Injuries caused by the marker are more severe than a regular burn because the chemical enters the bloodstream and can cause organ damage. Fumes from the marker can also be hazardous if inhaled.
The MK 25 is used by the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard to chart the course of enemy submarines, locate a survivor during search and rescue operations, locate target areas in antisubmarine warfare or determine wind direction and velocity. MK 25s can be launched from aircraft or surface ships.