Kelly and Gareth Gravell loved taking their children to the beach. They went as often as possible and took many pictures to commemorate the fun trips. But one picture showed more than sandcastles and the kids playing in the water.
In one photo, the kids were playing with a mysterious object they found on the beach. Kelly and Gareth originally thought it was harmless. A few days later, they learned it was deadly.
The Gravell Family From Burry Port In Wales, United Kingdom
Like many parents, Kelly and Gareth Gravell loved taking their children on trips. Erin and Ellis were young, at six and four years old, so a no-fail excursion was always the beach. Living in Burry Port in Wales, United Kingdom, they made it to the shore as often as possible.
The children loved building sandcastles and playing in the water while their parents enjoyed capturing each precious moment on camera. That is until one photo showed something horrifying.
Burry Port Used To Be An Industrial Port
While Burry Port might be a great place for families to go and enjoy a lovely beach day now, it didn't always use to be a tourist destination. In fact, the beach used to be an industrial port, with huge cargo ships coming and going as they pleased.
Not exactly the place people want to take their kids to go swimming. Over the years, though, the location has cleaned up its act.
A Day Trip To The Beach Was Typical For The Family
Since Burry Port's long since been an industrial port, the Gravell family often went there for day trips. It was the perfect location for a relaxing day at the beach. And this particular day was no different.
Getting to the sand, Kelly, and Gareth found a shady spot next to the lighthouse and watched their kids run into the water to boogie board. It was going to be another great day. At least, that's what they thought.
It Was A Beautiful Day
Their family beach day started out pretty much the same as any other trip. Kelly and Gareth set up camp while the kids, Erin and Ellis, ran straight into the water to play. It was a beautiful sunny day with a blue sky. They didn't think anything unexpected was going to happen.
But during one of their walks along the shore, everything changed, and they weren't sure what to do.
Their Day Was Pretty Typical
It was the perfect beach day. The sky was clear and blue, and the water was nice and warm (which is saying something for the UK!). The Gravell family had a blast playing in the water and sand, taking pictures every so often to remember the day.
Everything was rolling out how it typically did during their beach trips, with nothing unexpected happening. Then they went for a walk along the sand.
A Walk Along The Shore Turned Into Something Else
Whenever the family went to the beach, they made a point to go on at least one nice walk along the shore. When they did, Erin and Ellis would scour the sand for seashells, sand dollars, and even small trinkets that the ocean washed ashore.
But nothing prepared them for what they were about to find that day. It wasn't a seashell or anything they'd typically see at Burry Port. It was something else altogether.
They Noticed Something Down The Beach
Noticing something large down the beach, the Gravell family thought it would be fun to explore. The object was much larger than anything they've seen at Burry Port. Kelly and Gareth thought it would be a fun little adventure for their kids.
So, they began walking towards the mystery object on the sand. While they still weren't entirely sure what it was, both Kelly and Gareth knew one thing for sure, whatever it was, it wasn't a seashell.
It Was Tall, Wide, And Covered In Barnacles
The closer they got to the object, the bigger it seemed to be. The Gravell's had no clue what it was. The object was wide, a little taller than Ellis, and covered in barnacles. They couldn't make heads or tales of the object, just that it looked very out of place on the otherwise empty beach.
What was stranger, the object had some sort of chain hanging off the side. What could it be?
Was It A Bomb? A Buoy? Only Time Would Tell
Due to the shape of the object, the Gravell's thought it might be an old buoy that washed up onshore. That wouldn't be unheard of, right? Kelly was even joking that maybe it was some old bomb that found its way back to land.
Of course, that second guess was a bit out of left field, and the family didn't actually think a huge bomb washed up on the sands of Burry Port.
They Gave An Impromptu Lesson On Barnacles
Since the entire object was pretty much covered in barnacles, Kelly and Gareth couldn't tell what it was exactly. They could only guess. Even so, they took the time to teach their children about the quirky little sea creature stuck to the object.
Doing so got Kelly and Gareth up close and personal with the mystery object. And that's when they started noticing little things about it. This was no buoy.
There Were A Few Non-Buoy Details
After looking at the mystery object for a bit longer, Kelly and Gareth both noticed some odd things about it that set it apart from a normal buoy. First off, it was covered in a ridiculous amount of barnacles, more so than any buoy they've seen before.
That wasn't necessarily strange, though. But what was out of the ordinary was the weird writing on the side of the object and the chain.
It Was Seemingly Harmless
The writing was out of the ordinary for a typical buoy. At least, any buoy Kelly and Gareth had seen. Unfortunately, they couldn't exactly make out the writing, as it was almost entirely covered by the barnacles.
Even though they couldn't make heads or tales with the object, they didn't think it was going to harm Erin and Ellis. So, Kelly and Gareth let their kids explore. What harm could it actually do?
Ellis Touched The Object
The kids were so excited about finding a weird object on the beach that Kelly and Gareth couldn't bring themselves to pull the kids away. So, Gareth did the only thing he could think of; he took pictures of the experience.
He even captured his son touching the mystery object, freezing the time when he reached out to touch its surface. He even knocked on it a few times, just for fun.
The Barnacles Would Have Been Safer To Touch
Being a young kid, Ellis couldn't help himself. He wanted to touch the strange object on the beach. So, watching out for the sharp barnacles covering its surface, he touched it. Little did he and his parents know that the barnacles would have been a safer bet than the actual object.
After a little while, the Gravell family left the object behind and continued their walk down the beach. They didn't come across anything nearly as interesting.
Gareth Posted The Pictures To Facebook
Getting back to their house after a day at the beach, Gareth uploaded the pictures he took to social media, including a photo of the mysterious item washed up on the shore. He even captioned the picture of his son touching it, saying, "Ellis was fascinated with the 'sea monster' wasted up in Burry Port beach!"
His Facebook friends immediately took to the comments, trying to figure out what the "sea monster" actually was.
Five Days Later, The Object Was On The News
After that day at the beach, the Gravell family went about life as usual. But five days later, they heard about something dangerous at Burry Point. At the same location they had been days before.
Apparently, the tide had washed away some of the barnacles on the mystery object, revealing the writing Kelly and Gareth couldn't originally make out. When they learned what it was, they were shocked. It was the opposite of a buoy.
The Authorities Were Called
A few days after the Gravell family left the object on the beach, someone else stumbled upon it. Someone who had a better idea of what the thing could possibly be. The fact that some of the writing was now exposed helped matter greatly.
But what the man found wasn't something to be taken lightly. It wasn't a buoy. And once he figured out the object's origin, he called the authorities. The beach was shut down within hours.
The Object Was Deadly
Burry Port was closed down, much to the dismay of frequent beachgoers around town. But Pembrey Country Park's Facebook page explained the reason for the closure, shocking the community, including the Gravell family who had been there only days before touching the object.
What the family thought was nothing more than an old buoy washed up on shore turned out to be something much more dangerous. In fact, the object was downright deadly.
It Was A Mine Bomb From World War II
It turned out that the mystery object in the sand was a military explosive from World War II, specifically a mine bomb used by the United States. Pretty much the exact opposite of a buoy.
No wonder the beach was closed down! Once they figured out the object was, in fact, a bomb, the Coast Guard sent a bomb squad to Burry Port to further investigate and figure out the safest course of action.
They Had To Figure Out How To Move The Bomb
The bomb squad was on the scene, figuring out the best and safest way to remove the World War II mine bomb from the public beach. Obviously, the bomb was extremely old. The squad would have to take the utmost care to make sure they didn't accidentally detonate the thing right there on the beach.
Actually, they're lucky none of the beachgoers accidentally set it off, including young Ellis, who knocked on it a few times days earlier.
Moving The Bomb Wasn't An Option
Not knowing how to safely move the old mine bomb, the bomb squad decided to take another course of action. Instead of trying to move it, risking an unsafe detonation, they decided to set it off right there on the Burry Port beach.
That way, they could control the explosion and make sure no one got hurt in the process. Now it was just a matter of setting it off.
A Crowd Gathered For The Detonation
The detonation went off without any issue. But something of that scale drew quite the crowd. It's not every day people get to see a World War II mine bomb in real life, after all. Gathered a safe distance away from the actual site, people were in awe of the weirdly historic moment.
Burry Port was a place families went to for day trips to have fun. Nothing like this had ever happened, and nothing of this scale was likely to happen again.
Families Were Very Close To The Bomb Before Detonation
There was a lot of buzz surrounding the mine bomb and what happened on Burry Port beach, especially considering a lot of families, like the Gravell's, were so close to it a few days before detonation.
They even let their kids touch the thing! It was a lot to take in. Thankfully, everything went off without a hitch, and no one was injured in the discovery or detonation of the age-old bomb.
The Gravell's Were Amazed When They Learned The Truth
Ironically, it took a friend commenting on the image of Ellis Gravell touching the mine bomb for the family to learn what the object actually was! They had no idea their son was within inches of something that had the potential to detonate.
It never crossed Kelly or Gareth's mind that the weird object on the beach could be deadly. They were amazed when they finally learned the truth and beyond thankful nothing happened.
The Actual Writing Was Never Released To The Public
It's not uncommon for buoys to wash up on the shore. So the Gravell family didn't think anything of it when they went to explore the object further. Obviously, they learned the truth about the device a few days later.
The not-so harmless object turned out to be a World War II mine bomb. Unfortunately, that mysterious writing on the side of it, the thing that started this whole fiasco, was never released to the public.
Gareth Went To Facebook To Update His Followers
When the Gravell family finally found out that the object they were inspecting was a World War II mine bomb, Gareth went straight to Facebook. He wrote, "So the buoy my kids were jumping on all weekend turns out to be a WWII bomb. Oops."
Well, at least he had a good sense of humor about it. Then again, neither of his kids was hurting in the process, so that most likely had something to do with the flippant attitude.
Everyone Was Happy To See The Mine Bomb Gone
Considering their encounter with the World War II mine bomb, the Gravell family was in the crowd the day the bomb squad detonated it. They were more than happy to see it gone from their beloved Burry Port, and so was everyone else who enjoyed their safe trips to the beach.
But if everyone came away from this experience with anything, it's that they shouldn't inspect foreign objects on the beach, or anywhere, for that matter.
People Had Non Idea Their Lives Were In Danger
The harsh truth of the matter is that no one walking along the sand at Burry Point knew that they were so close to a bomb. They were just going about their day at the beach having not one clue that their lives were actually in danger.
And while that's a hard pill to swallow for some people, there was a little boy in the crowd who had other concerns about what they were witnessing.
Ellis Wanted To Know If The Barnacles Were Going To Be Okay
Little Ellis Gravell wasn't overly concerned about the mine bomb on the beach he often frequented with his family. He was more concerned about what happened to all of the tiny barnacles that were covering the surface of the World War II explosive.
That day at the beach, he learned a bit about the sea creatures, and after the detonation, Ellis asked his parents, "Are the little animals on there going to be okay?" (cue the tears).
The Beach Was Eventually Reopened To The Public
After some time, the bomb squad deemed Burry Port's beach safe and able to reopen to the public. And, as it turned out, no one was really deterred from the beach even though a World War II explosive had just been detonated on the shore.
Even the Gravell family wasn't going to let that little mishap ruin their family's favorite beach spot! But they did speak to 13 WMAZ news, saying, "In the future, we're going to approach [unkown objects on the beach] with care."