Military sending explosives team to Marsh Lake

National Defence is sending an explosives team to retrieve a live phosphorus flare in Marsh Lake. The silver canister, known as a marine marker, didn't explode during search and rescue exercises performed last week over the lake.

National Defence is sending an explosives team to retrieve a live phosphorus flare in Marsh Lake.

The silver canister, known as a marine marker, didn’t explode during search and rescue exercises performed last week over the lake.

“We do believe, from feedback from the team, that one marker did not deploy,” said Capt. Alexandre Cadieux, an Air Force spokesperson.

An explosive ordinance disposal team is being organized, said Cadieux this morning.

The team, made up of several divers, is in the middle of co-ordinating its search for the marker, but Cadieux did not know when the team would be deployed.

The hazardous gas is used to help the military identify people and places in search and rescue missions.

But phosphorus is highly flammable and can cause third-degree burns. It’s more dangerous than a regular burn because the chemical enters the bloodstream and can cause organ damage. It can also be hazardous if ingested or inhaled.

A canoe and kayak race is scheduled on Marsh Lake this weekend. The Autumn Classic begins on the lake and continues up the McClintock River on Saturday.

The canister shouldn’t pose any threat to canoers and kayakers, said Cadieux.

“Besides seeing them from the water’s surface, that would be the only possibility (of contact),” he said.

During search-and-rescue exercises last week, Air Force members used 18 marine markers over Marsh Lake, including the one that didn’t deploy.

Another expended canister was found last Saturday on the shores of Marsh Lake.

The markers are designed to sink once they explode. But this one floated on the lake until it was found by someone walking the shores.

The canisters are about 0.3 metres long and have “Dangerous Material – If Found Contact Military or Police” written on the side.

People who find a canister should contact the RCMP immediately, said police in a news release.

Contact James Munson at

jamesm@yukon-news.com