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Fisherman left reeling after discovering bomb at sea

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 18, 2013

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WHEN fisherman Phil Wisby hauled up a strange-looking device off Mumbles Head, he knew the drill.

Six years ago he landed a German mine weighing 1.8 tonnes.

This time, the barnacle- covered shell was around the size of a fire extinguisher, but still the experts had to be called in.

"I was shell-shocked," said Mr Wisby.

The 62-year-old, who had been trawling near the Mixon buoy with his faithful colleague — Collie Terrier cross Molly — contacted Swansea Coastguard and headed towards Swansea Marina.

Coastguards photographed the shell and the Royal Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit was notified.

The following morning the unit removed the shell and took it to Whitford Point, Gower, where a controlled explosion was carried out.

Mr Wisby, of Three Crosses, said he'd normally expect to catch species like sole, skate and cod, not a bomb.

He said he had been fishing for 13 years, after working in Libya.

Normally it's just him and Molly on board his vessel, Girl Eileen II.

"You can't afford to pay anybody," he said. "Sometimes I take a couple of friends out."

Swansea Coastguard said it received the call from Girl Eileen II at 3.40pm on Tuesday and then informed the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit.

The shell was tiny compared to the 12ft x 3ft device Mr Wisby brought to the surface of Swansea Bay in October 2006. The mine would have been dropped into the sea by parachute during a Luftwaffe raid on Swansea.

Following its discovery, the device was checked out by Royal Navy bomb disposal experts and blasted to smithereens. Petty Officer Sid Lawrence said at the time: "They are designed to cause a massive bubble of air, as that hits the bottom of the ship it breaks the back of the vessel."

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  • nice_nails  |  January 18 2013, 9:14AM

    Shame it didn't go off and damage the boat, I wish no harm to Mr Wisby or his dog, but the local waters are practically fish free due to the amount of trawling going on, most of which is carried out off the books.

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