Eglin Air Force Base announced Monday morning they found three World War II-era bombs in the Choctawhatchee Bay near Shalimar, Florida.
Eglin spokesperson Ilka Cole says they found two 250-pound bombs and a single 1,000-pound bomb.
Eglin says they’ve known about the presence of the the thousand pound bomb and one of the two smaller bombs since January 15, and have worked to plan a safe way to detonate them in the Choctawhatchee Bay away from people and buildings. They found the other 250-pound bomb on January 29.
A team of Navy EOD Divers from Panama City will use their skills to move and then detonate the bombs once they are in a safe place. The Air Force says the operation will take place on February 14, and if there is bad weather – they’ll reschedule for the 15th. They will detonate the bombs some time between 9 AM and 3 PM.
Cole added in a press release they found the bombs as a result of a “routine remedial investigation of the Bay Legacy Range” and that the explosion of the ordnance would not require the evacuation of land near the bombs.
The Air Force has established a 2,050 yard safety zone around a specific geographic coordinantes that they have told boaters and swimmers to stay out of. The safety zone will also include a zone around any boats transporting bombs in the bay.
Members of the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office will work together to establish a perimeter around the bombs’ current location and where they will explode the bombs.
“We have committed the required resources and conducted exhaustive planning efforts with our partner agencies to ensure the safe disposal of the UXOs,” said Col. Thomas Tauer, 96th Test Wing deputy commander, “This has been a team effort throughout the process from discovery to planning how to dispose of these UXOs. USACE, the Navy, the Coast Guard, Okaloosa County Sheriff Department-Marine unit, and multiple state and county agencies have been extraordinarily supportive, and we greatly appreciate their partnership and professional assistance.”