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Explosive that closed major Kelowna highway was ‘sophisticated’ but not targeted: RCMP

The IED was neutralized at 7p.m. on Feb. 27
The Explosive Disposal Unit safely neutralized the explosive discovered Monday on Harvey Avenue (Alex Senger photo)

RCMP say the explosive device that was discovered beside Kelowna’s major highway was considered to be sophisticated.

Police held a brief press conference on Feb. 28, to go over details surrounding the discovery of the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and its neutralization. The device was found on Feb. 27 by a pedestrian who was walking by a strip mall beside Harvey Avenue.

READ MORE: ‘Made safe’: Explosive neutralized in Kelowna after Highway 97 shut down for hours

The IED was “made safe,” by B.C.’s specialized Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) after approximately seven hours of road closures and evacuations.

Insp. Beth McAndie said that the device had the capacity to detonate.

Officers were tight-lipped about specifics of the IED, but did say that it was sophisticated and may have been outdoors for awhile.

McAndie said that the RCMP are not concerned for the safety of the community and said that the incident was not targeted, but that they are taking the situation “very seriously.”

“The IED appears to be sophisticated but the purpose of it, is not known. Further forensics are taking place and we are in the infancy of our criminal investigation.”

The EDU operates out of the Lower Mainland and began their journey to Kelowna after being contacted by the RCMP at approximately 1 p.m.

At approximately 6 p.m. the team had set up around the object.

The EDU used a robot and neutralized the explosive by approximately 7 p.m.

Harvey Ave. was closed for nearly seven hours.

“We know the extensive road closures were impactful to our citizens however our top priority is keeping the public safe,” said McAndie.

The EDU team packaged up the neutralized explosive to bring back to their headquarters for analysis and disposal.


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