On Saturday afternoon, 15-year-old Koen Wijlaars from Aalst fished up a poisonous gas grenade from Beatrixkanaal in Eindhoven. The weapon of war dates back to the First World War. He describes the grenade as ‘his greatest catch ever’.
The high school student thought he was hoisting ‘some kind of big bottle with sand’. “But when I looked at it up close, I only saw that there was some kind of detonation at the top. We immediately called the police”.
A police bomb expert came to take a look and did not need long to call in the Explosieven Opruimingsdienst Defensie (EOD, explosives clearing service). Koen: “Within five minutes these men had already recognised that it was a poisonous gas grenade from the First World War. And above all that it was not in the right place”.
‘This is why you do it’
Catching an object like this on his ‘fishing magnet’ is exactly why Koen has this hobby. “This is what I enjoy most: finding something historical. Now it’s a grenade, but I also hope to find a pistol one day”. Stopping at your peak is not an option for Koen. “I hope to be able to do this for a long time, I now also have a metal detector”.
Translated by: Bob