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Navy Searches Unalaska Waters For World War II Explosives

U.S. Navy

This week, the U.S. Navy is searching for World War II-era explosives that may still be hiding in waters around Unalaska.

It’s unclear how much leftover ordnance is lurking offshore, according to Leslie Yuenger of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. But she needs help from Unalaskans to find it.

“We need the stories from grandma and grandpa -- or great grandma and great grandpa -- who might have found things in their beach combing or pulling up nets with the season’s catch," she said. "It’s the history of people who live here that’s going to help us accomplish this and keep everybody safe.”

Yuenger said ordnance presents the biggest safety concern to recreational divers, boaters, and fishermen.

That’s why the Navy is searching waters close to town -- no more than three miles offshore and no more then 120 feet deep.

Yuenger said they’re using a remote-controlled underwater vehicle to investigate potential hazards and determine whether the objects are metallic. If they are, the Navy will deploy a microwave-sized camera to capture video of each item.

“We’re not going to remove anything," said Yuenger. "We’re not going to touch anything. We’re just going to record the GPS coordinates, take all the data we collect, and go back and study it.”

The results of that analysis will be released in the fall of 2018. After that, the Navy will decide whether to remove any confirmed explosives.

To report World War II ordnance in Unalaska, contact Yuenger at 360-396-1030 or

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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