RCMP dismantle 'live explosive device' near Highway 97 in Kelowna
RCMP in Kelowna, B.C., say they safely dismantled a "live explosive device" Monday night after the discovery of a suspicious object closed a major highway for most of the day.
An explosives disposal unit disabled the device sometime after 7 p.m., hours after it was spotted near the highway south of Cooper Drive around midday.
RCMP Const. Mike Della-Paolera referred to the object as an IED, or improvised explosive device, but provided no further detail.
The highway later reopened. Mounties are expected to provide more information Tuesday.
The lengthy closure backed up traffic through the city. The 800-metre stretch road through Kelowna houses many major malls and restaurants in the Central Okanagan municipality, including the Orchard Plaza Shopping Centre.
It is also a main road to the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) and West Kelowna, Penticton and other cities in the South Okanagan.
Della-Paolera said police were alerted to "something on the ground that was a little suspicious" early in the afternoon Monday.
The officer said the RCMP explosives unit in the Lower Mainland were "concerned with what they saw" after looking at pictures of the object.
He said a team was dispatched from Vancouver to assess and dispose of the device.
Local RCMP said they called in extra resources, including bylaw officers and firefighters, to stand by and help with traffic.
Kelowna is Canada's fastest-growing metropolitan area over the last five years, with its population increasing by 14 per cent to more than 222,000 in 2021, according to Statistics Canada.