Rhode Island’s Salty Brine Beach was evacuated around noon on Saturday. According to the Department of Environmental Management, a woman had been thrown by a small explosion into the rocks of the jetty.
Several 911 calls to the Narragansett police and fire departments were made before DEM became involved. A woman in her 50s was thrown several feet into the air from her chair when an explosion hit her from beneath the sand and hurled her head-first into the rocks. She was taken away by a rescue crew to the nearby hospital, still conscious. Her condition is currently unknown.
According to the New York Daily News, she had been trapped in the rocks when the rescue crew arrived.
The Bomb Squad was also called in to investigate. Alongside advice from the Fire Marshall, the possibility of closing down George’s of Galilee as a precaution may be necessary. It is yet unknown what the cause of the explosion, which injured the woman and caused the Salty Brine Beach to be evacuated, could be.
No incendiary device was found to be the cause, though witnesses claim to have heard a “loud deep rumbling” prior to the blast, followed by a chemical smell. Some witnesses claimed to have seen someone placing an object beneath the sand before fleeing. The object turned out to be a bag of seashells, says Larry Mouradjian of the DEM.
— Providence Journal (@projo) July 11, 2015
Providence radio host Dave Dean, who was present when the explosion happened, described the incident in a Facebook video.
“It felt like an earthquake or a gas explosion. Everyone that was in the water actually felt it.
There is a big hole in the ground at the edge of the water.”
Mouradjian has stated that the explosion does not appear to have been an act of terrorism. Authorities are keeping Salty Brine Beach evacuated for now, until the cause of the explosion is determined.
[Image State of Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management]