Wow, this had to be unsettling news to anglers who were in the area of this discovery over the weekend.

And if it hadn't been for some routine training exercises, could there have been an explosion? Either way, a fortunate series of events led to an unsettling discovery before any damage could be done.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tells us that a suspected explosive device was found Saturday evening (September 4) at Williams’ Bridge Fishing Access Site along the Jefferson River, not far from the town of Three Forks. Game wardens with Montana FWP closed the site and the nearby Sappington Bridge Fishing Access Site during the investigation.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue personnel found what appeared to be a pipe bomb in the river while  they were conducting some training at the site. From there, Explosive Ordinance Disposal technicians from Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls came to the site and detonated the device Sunday morning.The case was then turned back over to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office to lead the ongoing investigation into the device.

Both the Williams’ Bridge and Sappington Bridge fishing access sites were reopened to the public later that morning. A Montana FWP game warden emphasized how grateful they were to Gallatin County and Malmstrom Air Force Base personnel for their collaborative response. Thanks to these efforts, they were able to safely reopen those sites to the public.

By the way, and we know this is a heck of a long shot, anyone with information that may be helpful in this investigation, please contact the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office at 406-582-2100.

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