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Boys reel in hand grenade from lake while magnet fishing

Normally their magnet latches onto junk like bottle caps, but Thursday's catch involved calling in the Defence Forces.

Lari Tammivuori ja Viljami Juutilainen löysivät käsikranaatin Lahden stamasta 2.7.2020
Lari Tammivuori and Viljami Juutilainen caught a hand grenade while magnet fishing in Lahti harbour on Thursday. Image: Juha-Petri Koponen / Yle

Two young boys who were magnet fishing got more than they bargained for after pulling up a hand grenade from Lake Vesijärvi in Lahti, southern Finland, around midday on Thursday.

Magnet fishing involves searching the floor of water bodies for magnetic objects with a strong neodymium magnet attached to a rope.

As they often have done this summer, Lari Tammivuori and Viljami Juutilainen were magnet fishing on Thursday but were only expecting to catch regular pieces of scrap metal as they normally do. But this time, the magnet latched onto something very unusual and possibly extremely dangerous.

"We have this magnetic fishing kit which we use to fish for junk in the water. Usually we get bottle caps and nails. Then it came. I didn't realise right away that it was a hand grenade," young Juutilainen explained.

"We carried it to the shore with our hands, but then didn't touch it again when we found out what it was," Tammivuori continued.

Story continues after photo

Ilmakuva Lahden satamasta 2.7.2020 jolloin osa alueesta eristetty kranaattilöydöksen vuoksi.
Aerial photo of Lahti harbour, which was cordoned off by police on Thursday afternoon due to the discovery of a hand grenade by two boys who were magnet fishing. Image: Juha-Petri Koponen / Yle

Viljami then made a phone call to his mother, Maarit Juutilainen, to tell her about their unusual catch. She didn't believe the boys at first but hurried to the scene.

"It was old-fashioned looking and pretty rusty. I said it could be a grenade. His aunt is a police officer so I sent her a few pictures [of the grenade]. We were given clear instructions to step away from it and wait for police to arrive," Maarit said.

Police cordoned off an area between the harbour and the Pikku-Vesijärvi Park at about 1pm and called in the Defence Forces for help in safely disposing of the explosive device.

The Defence Forces team's work was complete at about 3pm. Military officials have not yet revealed any further information about the age or condition of the grenade or how much of a danger it posed.

Maarit Juutilainen said she first thought that her son's magnetic fishing summer hobby was completely harmless.

"Now you kind of get scared of what they might find. But we won't allow the boys to continue fishing scrap from there," she laughed.

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