A Statesboro, Georgia, federal court declared today that three magnet fishers charged after removing Army ordnance from a waterway near Fort Stewart will not face misdemeanor fines.
Led by YouTuber Bryce Nachtwey, the trio, who pulled 86 rockets, a tank tracer round, and .50-caliber ammo belts from a river, were cleared of nine charges, a spokesperson from the U.S. Attorney’s Office told Military Times.
The group found the ammunition and 86 rockets in a Delta Airlines duffel bag, and said they were just trying to do the right thing by calling in the bomb squad. That ultimately led to three citations for each of them — two tickets for $130 and one for $80 — for magnet fishing at Fort Stewart, entering a closed area and not having appropriate permits.
The original exchange can be see on Nachtwey’s YouTube channel Outdoors Weekly.
According to the Army, the ordnance is estimated to be from the 70s or 80s.
“The lot numbers on the rockets gave us that time frame,” Kevin Larson, chief of public communications for Fort Stewart, told Military Times. “Unfortunately, we can’t determine who disposed of the ordnance improperly due to the age of the ordnance. Our Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit did secure the items found and disposed of them.”
Larson noted that no attempts will be made by the Army to search for more displaced equipment.
“We will not be searching for additional ordnance because we know we are an active training installation and having ordnance in the environment is a reality of preparing our units to answer the nation’s call,” he added.
However the ordnance found its way to a watery grave, Nachtwey’s discovery posed a level of concern for the Army, which advises caution for civilians.
“Because of this reality, we strongly emphasize people follow the 3 Rs — recognize, retreat, report — when coming across any ordnance they may find in the training area,” he said.
Military Times reached out to Nachtwey, who did not return request for comment as of press time.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.