A bomb squad had to be called to a hot chip factory in New Zealand after what was thought to be a ‘muddy potato’ on the production line turned out to be a grenade.
The explosive device was found amongst 28 tonnes of potatoes destined to become chips during a largely automated harvesting process at Auckland’s East Tamaki Mr Chips factory.
An alert night worker had spotted the grenade rolling on a conveyor belt at 3.30am on Tuesday just in time before it reached inside the factory.
It was the first sighting of a weapon in the factory’s 30-year history.
Richard Teurukura, the worker, was doing routine work finding stones in a delivery of 100,000 potatoes when he stopped the conveyor belt to look at the suspicious object, according to the news site. Thing.
Mr. Teurukura initially mistook it for a large rock, but after brushing excess mud off the object, he saw grooves and suspected it was something else.
He then asked his colleague, who is an engineer and had “seen a lot of war movies”, to confirm his suspicions after which the area was cordoned off.
The grenade was isolated and placed on a concrete parking tie with the area around it restricted with bands and cones.
The police were called and in turn alerted the New Zealand Defense Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.
After examining the bomb under an X-ray machine, the grenade was found to be a dud used for training purposes.
It was a roughly 80-year-old British-made “Mills bomb” hand grenade that saw widespread use in World War II, defense experts said.
Roland Spitaels, Mr Chips’ factory operations manager, told the website: “It looked a lot like a muddy potato originally.”
He said it was the first weapon found at the factory in its 30-year history and praised Mr Teurukura and other staff.
“I think it’s pretty remarkable that he picked it up, hats off to him for keeping his cool about the whole thing,” Mr Spitaels said.
“The guys were really calm and collected and they reacted extremely professionally,” he said.
Mr Spitaels took a photo of the rare find to laminate so other workers sometimes know what to expect.
The grenade, which is now in the hands of police, is being inspected as police say it was the second such grenade to be found in 10 years. Mr Spitaels, however, said he would like to have it back for the factory trophy room eventually.
There have been sightings of such pomegranates in potato fields in Europe in the past.
“It made the evening more interesting than the one we normally have,” he said.