Kelly and Gareth Groavel have two young children, Erin and Ellis. They are from a small coastal town called Burry Port in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Kelly and Gareth work together at the waste management company that they own. When they aren’t working, they like to take their children to the beach. This is a very common family activity for parents who live by the shore.
Burry Port has its own beach that overlooks the Gower Peninsula. There was a time when the town was the home of a very busy shipping port that transported Welsh coal to the local valleys. Today, it is not industrial and is known as a beautiful spot and a great place for families to visit. The coastline is gorgeous, and it is complete with a quaint lighthouse. The area contains pleasure craft and watersport businesses. Burry Port is close to the 13-mile Millennium Coastal Path, and it is a popular spot for cyclists and hikers.
On a gorgeous August day, Kelly and Gareth packed up the car, loaded the kids, and headed to the beach for the day. They even brought the family dog. The family loved beach days, so the kids were very excited. Like many parents, Gareth took photos of his children at the beach, and he posted many of them on his Facebook page.
A Happy Photo
In one of the photos, Gareth is seen with Erin and Ellis and their boogie board. The two kids are giving thumbs up while Gareth is waving at the camera. Behind them are a gorgeous blue sky and sparkling blue water. The trio is standing on the golden-brown sand. The caption that Gareth added to the photo read, “No place like home! Kids love Burry Port on a nice day.”
Not long after the Gravells’ arrival at the beach, they noticed something strange. It was a large object that must have washed up on the shore. Kelly says that at first, they assumed that it was a large rock. The family got closer to get a better look at the object. When they got closer, they noticed that it was covered in barnacles. This is what made the kids want to get a closer look. Erin and Ellis said that the object looked like a giant sea monster. Kelly and Gareth thought that it was a buoy that has washed up on shore.
Kelly and Gareth took photos of their children standing by the barnacle-covered object. Kelly says that Ellis was touching the object, knocking some of the barnacles from the object. The kids were very curious about the strange thing that had washed up on the shore. Kelly and Gareth were focused on taking photos of their children near the object, so they didn’t notice the numbers at the top of the object that became evident as the barnacles came off the object.
Posting the Photo
Gareth took a photo of his children near the object, and he added a caption that read, “Ellis was fascinated with the ‘sea monster’ that washed up in Burry Port beach!” When Gareth posted the photo, he had no idea that the object was more dangerous than any sea monster. He didn’t know that his children were in danger until days after they posted the picture.
Attention Of the City Council
After authorities saw a mom’s innocent beach photo, they knew they needed to act fast. The object that washed up on shore didn’t just capture the Gravells’ attention; it also caught the attention of the officials from the Carmarthenshire City Council. When they saw what had washed up on shore, they knew right away that what washed up on shore was incredibly dangerous. As soon as the city council became aware of the object, they called the Coast Guard and the bomb squad.
An Unexploded United States Military Mine
The object that the Gravell family took photos with dated back to World War II. It was an unexploded U.S. military mine. The officials believe that the bomb was at least 70-years-old, making it very unstable and very dangerous.
A Controlled Detonation
On the following Monday evening at 6 pm, the bomb squad evacuated the beach. They wanted to be sure that the area was clear and contained so that they could perform a controlled detonation. The bomb squad took control of the bomb and the scene. Many people were there to witness the explosion because this wasn’t the kind of thing that happened in Burry Port. The Gravell family was there. After the bomb was detonated, the bomb squad took the bomb away. Ellis Gravell looked at his mother after the bomb was detonated and said, “Are the little animals on there okay, Mummy?” He was asking about the barnacles.