- On Monday, a mystery item was found on the beach north of Rodanthe Pier, reports say.
- The orange vessel was 16 feet long and was believed to be a part of a home that washed away the same day.
- It later turned out to belong to the US Navy, but disappeared before it could be recovered by the military.
A beach town in North Carolina is having quite the week: It faced a mysterious appearance — and sad disappearance — along its shores.
On Monday, the same day a local house washed out to sea, Kyle Barniak found something had washed in just north of North Carolina’s Rodanthe Pier in the Outer Banks. He assumed the mysterious orange, 16-foot-long object was from the lost $400,000 home.
“A porch swing maybe or bench seat? As I approached, it was clear it was a boat, completely intact and watertight,” he told McClatchy News, per the Charlotte Observer. “I called the number on the back of the boat.”
Barniak learned the vessel belonged to the US Navy’s Norfolk Naval Air Station in Virginia nearly 100 miles north of Rodanthe. The object was a military target.
And the Navy wanted it back, Barniak was told.
More specifically, it belonged to the Norfolk Detachment of Atlantic Targets & Marine Operations that “provides target services” as part of military training, according to a document from the division. The division had classified the target as sunk before it washed ashore in North Carolina.
But, then there was another problem. The boat-like target disappeared.
“When I went back, it was no longer there,” Barniak said. “Being Rodanthe, it was probably pirated overnight. There was nothing technical on the boat, but you could sit in it and it will probably show up modified so someone can go duck hunting in it or something.”
According to NBC-affiliate WRAL, the Outer Banks of North Carolina struggled with rebuilding eroded beaches in recent years, and local officials said it’s “reaching a crisis point” that has endangered houses near the water.
“The county doesn’t have the funds to pay for a beach nourishment project,” Dare County Manager Bobby Outten told WRAL. “We don’t have $30 million to do that, and without an influx of new money, we aren’t going to be in a position to nourish in Rodanthe.”
The US Navy asked that anyone who finds the target call (757) 445-4825.