Bremt Vanerem (18) from Ezemaal, Belgium, on Thursday evening fished-up ‘water bottle’ with a magnet. But when it turned out pale, Bremt also realized that something was not right. His trophy, which he had just picked up from the Kleine Gete, turned out to be an Obus, a jumper from presumably World War I. His parents immediately drummed up DOVO.
Bremt went out on Thursday with his magnet. Ready for the adventure and hoping for the discovery of a treasure, preferably even a valuable one. “Well, I had already purchased that magnet via the internet a while ago and had already seen some videos. I bought one that can ‘pull’ 20 kg, not too expensive”, says Bremt.
“The principle is that you make the magnet on a long rope, then throw it as far as possible into the water and then let it drag over the bottom towards you. If there is something metal, it sticks to it and you can pull it out. It can take a while before you can actually find something. With the magnet and backpack, I went out to the Kleine Gete a little further.”
The ‘thing’ was certainly about 20 centimeters high and quite heavy. I crawled into the water’s edge to rinse it off and shook it well into the water. It seemed to me like an old drinking cupBremt Vanerem
For Bremt, happiness immediately pops up. “Pretty quickly, after only half an hour, my magnet ‘stuck’ and I actually saw something lying in the water. I didn’t know what it was, because it had stuck in the mud of the stream.”
Bremt naturally wanted to be able to admire his find immediately. “The ‘thing’ was certainly about 20 centimeters high and quite heavy. I crawled into the water’s edge to rinse it and shook it well into the water. It looked like an old drinking cup to me. Then I put it in my backpack and cycled home. I showed my old ‘drinking canister’ to my parents….. Soon the tone in the house changed.”
Bremt’s parents quickly realized that it might be dangerous. “We thought it was far too heavy for a ‘water bottle’. The two ‘rings’ at the bottom also made us doubt. We wanted this out of our house as quickly as possible. Bremt laid it on the other side of the street, there are no houses there, but a large field. We tried to contact DOVO through their website, but it didn’t work. Then we just called the 101. Moments later there was police and fire department here. Our street and the Grote Steenweg were closed. The train traffic of the railway line along this was also stopped”, the parents say.
“The police and fire brigade stood here from half past nine in the evening. DOVO picked it up in the late evening,” says the mother. “Only when DOVO was here did it become clear how serious the situation was. It turned out to be a French obus from the First World War, still loaded. Fortunately, it was not fired.”
“Apparently, there are still plenty of those things that were once fired but did not ‘explode’. They are very dangerous and can explode at any time or with the slightest manipulation. If it had been like that, DOVO would not have taken them away but had the entire neighborhood evacuated to have them exploded in a controlled manner. When I heard that, my stomach contracted. We only came to live here. Imagine: ‘Those new ones are only here and we are already evacuating them.’ No, Bremt has been very lucky and he is well aware of that.”
War ammunition everywhere
In the meantime, Bremt has recovered somewhat from his adventure. Although he doesn’t want to put away his magnet right away. “Even today I went back. Unfortunately, I have not found the old coins or hidden treasure yet. Although, if I now find something that I do not immediately recognize, I will leave it at that. I also want to give that advice to other magnet fishermen. Apparently, there can still be war ammunition anywhere in this country.”