A young girl and her father are lucky to be alive after a World War II shell exploded at their home on NSW’s mid north coast.
Ryan Glen discovered the shell on Birubi beach, once used as a training ground for Allied soldiers, before bringing it home to their Anna Bay home in Port Stephens.
The blast shortly before 10pm on Monday left his four-year-old daughter, Angel, needing surgery for shrapnel wounds.
Police, defence and the bomb disposal unit descended on the property, transforming it into a crime scene.
Neighbours revealed the loud explosion in the home’s backyard prompted panic among residents.
“We thought somebody had been shot or something first off and then I came out and heard the groaning and moaning,” neighbour Leonie McCarthy said.
“She’s very lucky, she’s alive so that’s the main thing.”
Angel has since undergone surgery to remove shrapnel from her thigh and hip. Her father suffered wounds to his feet and legs.
Police and army specialists removed several items from the home and rendered them safe but an explosives detection dog remains on scene. Rusty fragments were collected from the scene.
“We believe that he’s found these objects on Birubi beach and he’s collected those and brought them home,” Chief Inspector Brian Tracey said.
Police urged anyone who comes across World War II ordnance not to take matters into their own hands.
“Don’t touch it, don’t play with it, just get in touch with local police,” Chief Inspector Tracey said.
He said it wasn’t uncommon for ordnances and unexploded bombs to wash up on the beach north of Newcastle, with some of the area historically used as a military dumping ground.
Police haven’t ruled out criminal charges.