Post-WWII military shell reeled in by surprised Massachusetts fishermen

The fishermen found the missile while searching for clams, Lt. Higgins said.

A group of fishermen searching for clams and quahog off the coast of Massachusetts instead came across an unexploded military shell, police said.

On Wednesday morning, “a fishing dragger from the Rock Harbor fleet brought ashore an unexploded military shell that was picked up in their nets,” the Orleans Police Department wrote on Facebook.

After making the discovery, the fishermen brought the shell to Rock Harbor pier and contacted local authorities.

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The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad and the Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal were called to handle the shell.  (Orleans Police Department)

After the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad and the Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal arrived at the scene, the shell was taken by a pickup truck to the jetty just off of Rock Harbor. It was then buried in a roughly 4-foot deep hole in the beach sandbar and detonated, Lt. Kevin Higgins with the Orleans Police Department told Fox News on Thursday.

The Orleans Police Department later posted videos of the explosion.

Higgins said the shell was most likely used by the Air Force for target practice on the SS James Longstreet, a defunct WWII ship in Cape Cod Bay.

While there were “no identifiable features on the rocket,” its dimensions led the Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team to believe the shell was most likely a Zuni missile.

The U.S. Navy Zuni is “an improved version of the HVAR (High Velocity Aircraft Rocket), also called the Holy Moses, which was used during World War II as an air-to-surface weapon,” according to the National Air and Space Museum. It was first introduced in the late 1950s.

Madeline Farber

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