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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Deadliest Catch: Sidewinder

A Florida fisherman said it was "kind of a fright" to learn the warhead he'd netted and carried around on his ship as a souvenir for more than a week was a live Sidewinder, air-to-air missile.

Captain Rodney Solomon, a long-line fisherman, "caught" the missile in a net off the coast of Panama City. A hole in the warhead led him to believe it had already been discharged, so he hung it over the side of his ship as a souvenir. About a week later, he casually mentioned the catch to the local fire department, who quickly took action. After securing the location and shooing-away onlookers, the fire department contacted the Air Force, who confirmed the Sidewinder missile was live and could have detonated at any time!

Fire chief, Derryl O'Neal, said such an occurrence "does happen... but it's a rare event." He recalled a similar missile "catch" some 15-16 years ago and cautioned fishermen not to haul the missiles, but to contact the proper authorities and inform them of the location.

The location at which the Capt. Solomon discovered the missile is in or near a location used for defense testing.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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