Live WWI grenade found in Finnish museum

9th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

The hand grenade, which was thought to be disarmed, sat in the museum for almost 30 years.

Helsinki -- A hand grenade from World War I that has been stored at a museum in Finland's Aaland islands for nearly 30 years in the belief that it was disarmed turned out to be live, the museum said Friday.

"A Russian hand grenade from World War I was found in a vegetable garden here in Mariehamn in the beginning of the 1980's, maritime archeology curator at the Aaland Museum, Marcus Lindholm, told AFP. “It was brought to the museum and it was left to lie in a storage room."

According to reports, the woman who found the grenade nearly 30 years ago believed it to be safe and  placed it on the floor in her car where it rolled around as she drove it to the museum.

Last November, Lindholm's colleague Kitty Strandvik noted that the rusty, orange-sized grenade had never been tested to ensure it was safe. The museum contacted the authorities.

Upon investigation, the grenade was found to be explosive and experts disarmed it.

"Everyone who has handled or been near that hand grenade has been lucky," major Mika Tyry of the Finnish army told AFP.

Tyry, a demining and munitions expert, explained that the old hand grenade could have exploded even though the safety pin remained attached. "You should never touch or move grenades or bombs, but should contact police," he added.

Each year, the Finnish army receives between 500 and 1,000 calls about old explosive devices, which mainly date from World War I and II.

The Swedish-speaking Aaland islands are an autonomous part of Finland and are located in the Baltic Sea between mainland Finland and Sweden.


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