Explosives detonated on riverbank at Clyde

A small Central Otago town was shaken by a blast yesterday afternoon, when the bomb squad detonated two explosives found on the banks of the Clutha River.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times at the scene, Senior Constable Graham Perkins, of Alexandra, said two explosives had been neutralised by two members of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) explosive ordnance disposal team.

"It doesn’t happen every day in Clyde," Snr Const Perkins said.

"It’s a bit of excitement for the town."

The explosive was identified as PowerGel, a commercial product used in construction.

Emergency services were called to Miners Lane on Sunday about 1.20pm after a member of the public found two 15-inch tubes on the river bank.

Clyde Volunteer Fire Brigade established a cordon and handed the scene over to police later that afternoon.

Two explosives found on the riverbank near Clyde were detonated by the New Zealand Defence Force...
Two explosives found on the riverbank near Clyde were detonated by the New Zealand Defence Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal team yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: RUBY SHAW
Police contacted the defence force, who arrived in Clyde yesterday afternoon and detonated the explosives about 2.40pm.

The flow rate of the Clyde Dam into the Clutha River was kept low by Contact Energy, at the request of police.

NZDF believed the PowerGel had been had been in the water for some time, Snr Const Perkins said.

"Because the river level has dropped, it’s now just beached itself."

The PowerGel may have been thrown in the river by someone who wanted to dispose of them, he said.

"There could be a possibility there maybe more than two [sticks] and some have gone down the river.

Snr Const Perkins urged anyone who comes across a potentially dangerous item to remain at a safe distance and contact emergency services immediately.

"Do not touch [it], kick it [or] poke it with a stick."