Authorities have ruled out the possibility that a cable underneath the beach might have caused the blast, which knocked a woman into a jetty on Saturday.
Updating reporters on their investigation, state police reported few new details in the case that has left officials and residents scratching their heads.
Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Rhode Island Fire Marshal, State Police, and Department of Environmental Management spent the day at Salty Brine State Beach removing a disconnected underground cable. The cable was de-energized back in 2007 and investigators confirmed the cable remained inactive during Saturday's mysterious blast.
“We’re going through extensive efforts, again with Coast Guard, removing things that possibly coulda, woulda - we’re not sure," said Larry Mouradjian, associate director of the Department of Environmental Management's Bureau of Natural Resources. "But we know this is a dead end because it’s a dead cable. There’s absolutely no connectivity to it. So we can rule yet one more thing out.”
Mouradjian said investigators will also trace back the cable to ensure it wasn’t connected to any power supply.
John Chartier, the state fire marshal, said the bomb squad found no evidence of an explosive device at the site of the blast, which was strong enough to knock a woman off her beach chair and into the water. She sustained injuries and was briefly hospitalized with broken ribs.
State Police and DEM said the investigation is ongoing. Next, they’ll look into natural causes that may have caused the incident, such as gases from decomposing marine plants and animals. They said they are leaving no stone unturned to determine the cause of the mysterious ground disruption.
Note: This post has been updated.