Low tide on the sound side of Outer Banks turns up relics from Duck bombing range

A training bomb found in the Currituck Sound off Duck on Jan. 22, 2020. [photo courtesy Lauren Wessel]

The strong northerly winds this week have not only covered parts of N.C. 12 on Hatteras Island with sand, they’ve also helped uncover relics of Outer Banks’ history.

The relatively shallow waters of the Currituck Sound have been blown out by the steady breeze, exposing the sandy bottom along the shoreline from Carova to Kitty Hawk.

And that has even exposed old training munitions that were fired and dropped by aircraft strafing targets in the bombing range that once made up much of what is now the Town of Duck.

Several employees of a nearby condominium complex were spending their lunch break on Wednesday walking along the edge of the sound, when they turned up a few of the relics.

Shell casings and training bomb fragments found in the Currituck Sound off Duck on Jan. 22, 2020. [Sam Walker photo]

Along with shell casings from aircraft guns, they found fragments of what look like what were small training bombs. And then they discovered one that appeared to be intact.

An oyster shell [top right] offers scale to the ordinance found in the Currituck Sound off Duck on Jan. 22, 2020. [photo courtesy Lauren Wessel]

That led to a phone call to the Duck Fire Department, which dispatched a crew to check it out as a precaution. It turns out the shell was likely inert.

Roughly 175 acres around the Army Corps of Engineers Research Pier in Duck is marked with signs warning of possible unexploded bombs and rockets left over from the bombing range used by the Navy between 1945 and 1965 that once covered 3,115 acres.

In 1993, the Corps removed 821 practice rounds that were found after some were exposed by wind erosion.

There have been other operations to search for more ordinance in 2000 and 2008, but no munitions were located according to a military report released in 2018.

The same report said there are plans to conduct more clean-up of the site around the pier in 2022.

During the Shelly Island Craze of the summer of 2017, when a large sandbar naturally-formed off Cape Point drawing thousand of visitors to the tip of Cape Hatteras, what was likely a World War II-era bomb from the Battle of the Atlantic was discovered.

Several training mines have washed up along the beaches of Corolla and Hatteras Island as recently as 2017, and again in 2018:

Authorities remind the public to contact them immediately whenever relics like those found Wednesday turn up along our shores.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.

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