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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 3, 2003

Device retrieved by diver may be a bomb

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

In retrospect, Barry Silverman says he should not have gone down 30 feet underwater, put a suspicious item in a float rig, swam to shore with it near the Kailua Beach boat ramp, loaded it into a pickup truck, and driven it to his downtown Kailua dive shop.

Kailua diver Barry Silverman said he now regrets handling the torpedo-shaped device he found 30 feet underwater.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

The police bomb squad treated the torpedo-shaped 30-pound object with a little more respect when they arrived at 2 p.m., loading it into a box in their truck capable of withstanding the explosive force of 40 sticks of dynamite.

"I didn't realize at the time that it might be live ordnance," said Silverman, a co-owner of O'ahu Dive Center.

"I suspected it might have a small charge, and I know that there are snorkelers and kayakers out there all day and every day, so I wanted to get it away from there."

The device, which Silverman found somewhere between the Mokulua Islands and Bellows Air Force Station, is to be blown up by Army ordnance teams.

No one who looked at the corroded device yesterday could identify it, but Silverman speculated that it could be from a U.S. P-47 fighter plane from Bellows that he and his diving buddies have spotted around the Mokulua Islands.

Silverman said he and his diving group have military and search and rescue diving experience, but that he still should not have moved the thing. He advised anyone in a similar situation to mark the area with some sort of float, and call the police.

Reach Walter Wright at wwright@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8054.