Excavation crew will try to remove hazardous mystery object from East Beach shoreline today

Excavation crew will try to remove hazardous mystery object from East Beach shoreline today


The great East Beach summer mystery might be solved Thursday when a crew assembles to remove an underwater object stuck in the sand about six feet off the shoreline.

The circular metallic object has captivated the attention of area residents and members of the East Beach Association, the volunteer group that cares for the popular beach, for weeks.

Bad weather and shifting sands have prevented previously scheduled efforts to either study or remove the object. The association had arranged for a team of divers to try digging part of the object out of the sand but on the morning of Aug. 20 the divers discovered the object was covered by two feet of sand that had accumulated in less than a week, according to Peter Brockmann, East Beach Association president.

Brockmann has served as lead detective on the case for much of the summer, trying to determine what the object, with its eight metallic legs capped with concrete, is and where it came from. His work has included consulting with the Stonington harbor master, soliciting information from local fishermen, and talking with oceanography professors at the University of Rhode Island. To date, the best guess is that the object is the base of an acoustic Doppler current profiler, a device used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others to monitor currents and sediment flow.

Joseph Gilfert, who was working as a lifeguard for the Ocean House, was alerted to the presence of the object about three weeks ago by a beach-goer.

“This person walked up to me when I was lifeguarding and said he had seen a weird object in the water. I walked over and found it,” Gilfert said.

The 17-year-old Gilfert attached a buoy to the object to serve as a warning and notified a community service officer, who works for the Westerly Police Department.

Gilfert, who stared his senior year at The Prout School this week, said he’s not at all sure what the approximately 4-foot long object is but said it poses a hazard to swimmers.

“You could easily get your leg stuck in there,” he said.

The association originally planed to have Rocky’s Tree Service of Charlestown try to pull the object out of the water with a winch but recently decided to have Sacco Enterprises Inc., also of Charlestown, try to remove the object with an excavator.

The removal operation is anticipated to get underway at about 10 Thursday morning.

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East Beach Association, experts puzzled over mysterious metal-and-concrete object just offshore

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