Rhode Island beach reopens after mysterious ‘boom’

"It was like an M-80 boom, like a grenade"

A beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island, was evacuated after a possible explosion occurred, injuring one person. NECN via NBC News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A Rhode Island beach reopened Sunday, a day after investigators concluded there was no public threat after an unexplained explosion blast knocked a beachgoer to the ground.

Salty Brine State Beach in Narragansett was open again to beachgoers, but there was no new information on the cause of the incident, state Department of Environmental Management spokeswoman Rayna Maguire said Sunday. She said the state fire marshal’s office is continuing the investigation.

The beach was evacuated Saturday morning after witnesses reported a possible explosion. A woman sitting in a chair at the tideline was knocked into an adjacent rock breakwater, and then fell forward into the sand, officials said. She was conscious and alert when she was taken to a hospital. No one else was hurt.

“There was some type of noise, there was some type of energy transfer. We have no evidence or indication that there was a device. This could be natural. It could be man-made,” Kurt Blanchard, acting chief of the DEM’s law enforcement division, told reporters at a briefing on the beach Saturday afternoon.

Mario Lewis of West Greenwich told the Providence Journal he heard the loud noise and saw the woman get knocked over a few feet from him.

“It was like an M-80 boom, like a grenade,” he said.

Col. Steven O’Donnell of the Rhode Island State Police said late Saturday the investigation found no evidence that an explosive device caused the loud boom.

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