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Deadly Rocket Found in Village Of Barranco

Deadly Rocket Found in Village Of Barranco
April 17
16:09 2019

In a span of 11 days, bomb experts from the Belize Defence Force (BDF) had to be called in to deal with the discovery of two explosive devices, one of them an expended but live rocket and the other a live hand grenade, found in different parts of the country.

On Friday, April 12th in Barranco Village, a resident reported to authorities that she was walking along the shoreline in the village when she noticed a suspicious looking device floating near the seaside. The person called the Police and informed them of the discovery and BDF bomb experts were called in to secure the perimeter and retrieve the device for inspection.

Today Captain Emerson Mckoy, a bomb expert from the BDF told the Reporter that what was discovered in Barranco “is an expended 111mm SNEB Rocket. Its main charge contained white phosphorus of which if it makes contact with the human skin or anything it would burn it severely. For security measures, I am not able to disclose much detail, but I can say it is a French made device. It is commonly found in both Central and Latin American countries who use these type of rockets for training or operational purposes. These types of rockets are fired out of attack helicopters and jets. The rocket is considered to be a dud – something that was shot out of an aircraft but nonetheless the explosive chain did not complete so it can go off and is considered a time bomb. However, it is still being treated as a dud and we are going through the process of destroying it as we speak.”

While Mckoy explained that the investigations are still ongoing into the origin of the device, it is suspected that the device might have drifted into Belizean territory from international waters or from one of the neighboring countries which might have been using the device for training.

Mckoy explained that the danger area for the device is estimated at about 381 meters. If the device had exploded, anybody or anything within that danger area would have been killed or damaged. According to Mckoy while the rocket has already been discharged and is considered a dud it would have been lethal in the hands of criminals who could have used it as an improvised explosive device.

In the second incident, on April 2nd, a joint team consisting of Special Patrol Unit and the Mobile Interdiction Team personnel visited an area on the banks of the Mopan River in Benque Viejo Town where they uncovered a live hand grenade. The explosive device was found wrapped in a black plastic bag and hidden in a hole under a rock. Its safety pin was secured with electrical tape and due to the sensitive find, BDF bomb experts were again called in to secure the device.

Since the discovery, not much information was released on the particulars of the find. Mckoy told the Reporter that “It was a live M26 fragmentation type hand grenade. The country of origin is the United States. They are the ones who manufacture those type of grenades.”

The US type M26 grenade is commonly found in several Latin American countries due to their close ties with the US. Since Belize uses British made grenades it is suspected that the grenade was brought into Belize by criminal elements.

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