What bomb is this?
When a man comes walking into your office carrying what seems like a missile with him, what would be your first thought or reaction? Fight or flight?
This was the predicament staff members of the Knysna-Plett Herald (KPH) found themselves in momentarily on Tuesday 27 March when Hornlee resident Desmond van Rooyen came walking into our Spring Street offices with what looked like some kind of mortar shell or unused missile under his arm.
It was only when Van Rooyen started explaining how he came about the object that everybody’s worries subsided.
According to Van Rooyen he noticed that some children were playing with the artillery shell earlier that same day, near the old Hornlee swimming pool, and immediately decided he had to get it away from them.
“The area where they were playing is being cleared for houses to be built there, so it must have come out during that process – but I really don’t know how it ended up there. When I saw one kid chasing another with it I became sceptical and took it from them – you never know if it is still dangerous,” said Van Rooyen.
After showing KPH what he had found, Van Rooyen handed the object over to the Knysna police.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Chris Spies could not offer any explanation as to the origin of the shell.
“The 90mm warhead casing was handed over to the SAPS explosives unit based in Mossel Bay, for safekeeping and disposal,” he said.
Spies added that in an event such as this, the public are advised to rather contact their nearest police station to ensure safe handling and disposal.
“The SAPS explosives unit will be dispatched as they are mandated and trained to deal with such incidents,” he said.
Philip Caveney of the Knysna Historical Society could not shed light on the artillery shell’s origin either.
“That looks like a modern artillery piece to me, but I am not an expert in these matters,” he said.
Desmond van Rooyen, a resident of Hornlee, acted quickly when he saw children of the area playing with this artillery shell. It has been handed over to the police.
The 90mm artillery shell from up close. How did it land up in Hornlee?