SANTA CRUZ, Calif. --A teen boy faces the loss of his hand after he found a round mortar shell used in fireworks displays on a beach and lit it in a backyard Saturday, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.
At about 7 p.m. Saturday, the 15-year-old child went to Corcoran Lagoon Beach at the end of 21st Street near Cliff Drive in unincorporated Santa Cruz County, Deputy Ryan Kennedy said.
He was with two other boys, aged 11 and 13, who were visiting the Santa Cruz area from Livermore and were accompanied to the beach by a chaperone, Kennedy said.
At one point, one of the juveniles found an object described as a "gold shaped egg" made of cardboard that had a small fuse attached to it, Kennedy said.
The boys brought the object to a relative's home in the 500 block of Corcoran Avenue off of Portola Drive in the Live Oak area of the county, deputies said.
The 15-year-old carried the mortar shell to the relative's backyard and lit the fuse. The shell exploded and caused a severe injury to his hand, which potentially he might lose, and also caused shrapnel injuries to his torso, Kennedy said.
Sheriff's deputies, emergency responders from the Central Fire Protection District and paramedics came to treat him at the scene and had him flown to Stanford Hospital for evaluation.
Deputies searched the area of the beach where the mortar was reported found, but did not see any others, Kennedy said.
There was no legal fireworks display at Corcoran Lagoon Beach on the Fourth of July, he said.
Anyone with information about the incident or where the mortar shell came from is urged to phone the sheriff's office at (831) 471-1121.