Citizen finds possible Coast Guard flare on Indian Rocks Beach

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Authorities say the cylinder that washed up on shore earlier this afternoon is a white phosphorus flare, not a piece of military hardware.

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team from MacDill Air Force Base is still on its way to check out this latest discovery, but Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has already identified it as a flare commonly used in training exercises by the Coast Guard.

The MacDill team was on Madeira Beach on Monday night to disassemble an air-to-air missile that a St. Petersburg fisherman found in the Gulf of Mexico and strapped to his boat for 10 days.

Tuesday's discovery, described as a foot-long shell-like cylinder, was reported to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office at about 1 p.m. The location of the find is described as on the beach off 15th Avenue.

A citizen took the corroded object to Indian Rocks Beach City Hall, and authorities were called.

Officials said flares like the one found today are supposed to sink when they go out, but some have been known to wash ashore when they don't fill with water.

No one was hurt or evacuated, but the Hillsborough team told responding deputies that phosphorus can burn the skin if there is contact.

Citizen finds possible Coast Guard flare on Indian Rocks Beach 06/09/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 6:18pm]

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