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Air Force Phosphorous Flare Found Near Tices Shoal in Barnegat Bay

The smoke generated from an Mk25 locator. (Photo: U.S. Army)

The smoke generated from an Mk25 locator. (Photo: U.S. Army)

A military-grade phosphorous flare that investigators believe belongs to the U.S. Air Force was found by a boater in Barnegat Bay earlier this month, police said.

John D. Davis, a Forked River man, found the brass device at Tices Shoal and brought it to the Lacey Township Police Department headquarters on Oct. 4, Chief David A. Paprota said. The device was located by Davis just south of Tices Shoal, under approximately three feet of mud.

The device, according to Paprota, was approximately 18 inches long and four inches in diameter and made of brass, which was tarnished from being in the bay. The device had writing stamped on the side which read, “For hand launching. To arm, rotate cover to arm.”

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The item was temporarily secured in the rear of Lacey police headquarters and attempts were made to contact the Fort Dix Bomb Disposal Unit, but no response was received, police said.

Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light was also notified and Petty Officer Patrick Seebald identified the device as possibly being a Mk72 location flare, according to Paprota.

The New Jersey State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center, the New Jersey State Police Arson-Bomb Unit, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office were notified, and Detective Brett Beyer of the New Jersey State Police Arson-Bomb Unit ultimately responded and took possession of the device.

After consulting with several other members of the unit and other bomb experts, Beyer told local authorities that he believed the device was an Mk25, a location device that produces flames and smoke via stored red phosphorous when activated with seawater. Beyer said that if some red phosphorous was remaining inside the device, and it was neutralized with a counter charge, the result “could be very dangerous.”

The device is believed to be utilized by the United States Air Force, leading Beyer to notify the United States Air Force Explosives Ordinance Disposal Unit of the recovery of the device.

It is not known how the MK-25 may have wound up in the bay.

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