Kokanee Creek Provincial Park has reopened after an RCMP explosives squad safely detonated a homemade pipe bomb found near the boat launch early Wednesday.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Dan Seibel says the bomb and “other explosive material” was found in a suspicious package the size of a shoe box.
Although the explosives “had potential for serious injury or death,” Seibel said it “did not pose a threat or safety hazard to the visitors in the camping area,” because there was nothing to set it off.
“It was just left in a box. There were no wires or detonators or fuses or a clock,” he said.
A police unit from the Lower Mainland was brought in to deal with the bomb and detonated it on site.
The park was partly evacuated and traffic on Highway 3A was limited while the device was destroyed to ensure public safety.
“That’s our primary concern. These explosives in the wrong hands could definitely [result in injuries],” Seibel said.
He added while the package did not appear to be intended to go off in the park, it “may have been left behind by someone for storage and possible retrieval at a later time.”
It was reported anonymously to police and found in a wooded, grassy area. “You wouldn’t see it unless you looked for it,” Seibel said.
Police don’t know why the package was left in the park and don’t have anything to link it to a suspect. They’re asking for tips.
“Nelson RCMP and [the bomb squad] are to be commended for their efforts,” Seibel said. “It is a relief that the explosives are no longer on the streets or in the wrong hands.”
He also thanked park employees and the Balfour fire department for their help.