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Arkansas bomb squad called after angler caught 'suspicious device'

A homemade device designed to shock fish out of the water had a state police bomb squad scurrying Friday after an angler hooked it while fishing in Bull Shoals Lake near the Arkansas and Missouri border.

Marion County Sheriff Clinton Evans said the fisherman called deputies about 8 a.m. Friday while fishing off the lake's bank near the Peel Ferry by the Wagon Wheel Resort and Cafe. The angler, fishing in about 10 feet of water, snagged a wire on a "suspicious device," Evans said.

He reeled it in, looked at it and thought it was a bomb, the sheriff said. Deputies arrived and then called the Arkansas State Police bomb squad.

"It was kind of a weird deal," Evans said.

The device appeared to be a vehicle cylinder wired to the activation mechanism of an airbag in a car's steering wheel, the sheriff said.

"It looked like the person threw the cylinder in the water and then tried to hammer on the air bag to make it go off," Evans said. "It was supposed to create a shock and stun the fish.

"Apparently, it didn't work and the person got scared and threw the whole thing in the lake."

Officials closed the Peel Ferry, which carries motorists traveling on Arkansas 125 across the northern part of the lake, at 1 p.m. as a precaution, said Jackie Story, an assistant at the office.

The area also is accessible to swimmers.

The state police team X-rayed the device but could not determine what was inside it. The team then buried it and detonated it, discovering its components, Evans said.

Officials reopened the ferry at 3:45 p.m. Friday.

Evans said he had never seen such a fishing implement.

"I guess if your mind is idle for long enough, you can come up with anything," he said.

State Desk on 08/12/2017

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