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Suspected ordnance found by Kihei man near La Perouse Bay

A suspected artillery shell awaits an explosive demolition team Saturday. KEITH HUNTER photo

The Maui News

A Kihei man says he found suspected ordnance along a South Maui road last week and turned it into the Maui Police Department for disposal.

MPD spokesman Lt. Gregg Okamoto said that at 11 a.m. Saturday, someone reported finding what appeared to be an unexploded ordnance Friday at La Perouse Bay. The reporting person brought the suspected ordnance to Mala Wharf before calling police, he said.

Kihei resident Keith Hunter confirmed to The Maui News that he found the expended artillery shell Friday morning on the road between La Perouse Bay and Ahihi Bay. Hunter said that he’d pulled over to take a photo of a plant and saw what he thought was a rusted pipe less than 5 feet from the side of the road. A U.S. Army veteran, Hunter then realized it was ordnance but believed it was harmless because it was open and rusted.

With no phone service at the time, Hunter said he believed that he couldn’t leave the ordnance on the side of the road, so he loaded it into his van. Hunter said he wanted to go to authorities but didn’t want to get into trouble for picking it up. But after he went surfing Saturday at Mala Wharf, he decided to turn it in to police, who cordoned off his van until a demolition team could arrive.

Okamoto said police turned over the item to a U.S. Army explosive ordnance demolition team for disposal at about 1 p.m. Sunday. The demolition team identified the object as an MK 75mm shrapnel projectile and safely detonated the ordnance on Maui, said Maj. Lindsey Elder, spokeswoman for the 8th Theater Sustainment Command. She said the team was part of the 303rd Ordnance Battalion out of Schofield Barracks.

Hunter said that police returned the van to him Sunday.

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