CBC – July 28, 2006
As RCMP investigate a bomb found in P.E.I. National Park, they will also address why 24 hours passed before they responded to the first call.
The peaceful tranquillity of the national park was broken Monday just before midnight when an RCMP bomb squad from Halifax blew up what they described as a homemade explosive device. RCMP provided no further description of the device to avoid jeopardizing the investigation.
The bomb was discovered by a hiker on Sunday in dense woods off the main road. Park wardens immediately called the RCMP. Police could not explain on Tuesday why it took them 24 hours to react. Eventually they arrived in force, with officers from the major crime unit, K9 units, and the bomb squad from Halifax.
RCMP spokesman Richard Thibault said that given the amount of rust on the bomb, it could have been sitting unnoticed in the woods for several years.
P.E.I.’s only other experience with bombs in recent memory was the case of Roger Bell, who planted bombs around Charlottetown from the mid-’80s to the early 1990s, including one that exploded outside the legislature. Police are not making any connection between Bell and this bomb.
“Any connection with any other cases in the past would be pure speculation,” said Thibault.
Police have gathered the bomb fragments and will reconstruct it for clues about who put it together and when.
Tourists in the area who stopped by the crime scene did not seem worried by the incident.
“I’m sure this is a really odd, random event,” said Michigan native Pam Davis, who stopped as she was cycling by.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to come back.”
Carol Buckingham and Betty Cahill were staying at the nearby inn Dalvay-by-the-Sea and heard police detonate the device.
“I said ‘that sounds like an explosion,’ ” Buckingham told CBC News.
“You know we’re from New Jersey and the New York area and we’re kind of used to hearing weird noises.”
The two said they were not concerned, and planned to go on enjoying their visit.
“We wanted to go walk on the trail,” said Cahill, “so as soon as it’s open we’ll do that.”
The trail was reopened shortly after noon Tuesday.