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Acid causes authorities to close Newcastle beach

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A mystery drum which is believed to have contained hydrochloric acid forced a section of a Newcastle beach to be closed on Sunday.

The drum washed up on Newcastle beach early Sunday afternoon.

As a precautionary measure, Fire and Rescue NSW closed a section of Shortland Esplanade during the clean-up operation.

Hazardous materials crews removed the contents of the drum and the area has now been declared safe and reopened.

Fire and Rescue NSW said the origins of the drum were still unknown.

Hydrochloric acid is known for its strong, irritating odour and can cause chemical burns to the skin, eye damage and blindness.

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