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Mysterious US Navy vessel washes up on NC Outer Banks, then disappears in the night

As if things couldn’t get any stranger on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a mysterious military craft washed ashore in Rodanthe the same day a house drifted out to sea.

The bright orange vessel was 16 feet long and bore notes reporting it belonged to the U.S. Navy — specifically the Norfolk Naval Air Station, about 100 miles north in Virginia.

Kyle Barniak found it Monday, March 13, north of the Rodanthe Pier, and he admits thinking it was part of the 1,100-square-foot house that fell into the ocean earlier in the day.

“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. “I called the number on the back of the boat.”

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Turns out he found a military target belonging to the Norfolk Detachment of Atlantic Targets & Marine Operations, which supports training for “threat-representative scenarios.”

The vessel had been reported as sunk, he was told, and they really wanted it back.

That’s when things got awkward.

“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.”

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McClatchy News also called the number listed on the boat, and Navy officials confirmed it belonged to them. They still want it back.

They suspect the Styrofoam-filled hull may have drifted back to sea and could wash ashore elsewhere on the Outer Banks.

Anyone who finds it is asked to call the Navy at 757-445-4825.

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© 2023 The Charlotte Observer

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As reported by American Military News