From: Stig Agermose <email@example.com> Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 03:19:57 +0200 Fwd Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 16:25:30 -0400 Subject: Mystery Shrouds Giant Floating Orb Source: The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), http://www.charleston.net/pub/news/local/13sphere.htm Stig *** Mystery shrouds IOP's floating orb ** Thursday, June 13, 2002 BY GLENN SMITH Of The Post and Courier Staff * ISLE OF PALMS - When a giant silver orb washed up in front of her rented beach house Monday night, Marie Segneri wondered for a moment if aliens had landed in the middle of her family reunion. The smooth, metallic ball was at least 3 feet in diameter and weighed a couple hundred pounds or more. Aside from a series of numbers stamped on its slightly dimpled surface, the sphere offered few clues as to its origin. "It looked like it may have been in the sea for awhile, but we just had no idea what it was," said Segneri, a vacationer from Tampa, Fla. Segneri's family wasn't alone. A parade of authorities from local, state and federal agencies examined the odd ball Wednesday. All came away scratching their heads. "Strange," said Isle of Palms Fire Chief Ann Graham, shaking her head. "We're calling it a UFO - an unidentified floating object." Two Segneri family members first spotted the sphere Monday afternoon when the sun glinted off its surface as it bobbed in the ocean. Thinking it was giant beach ball or a stray buoy, they swam out to grab it. "We tried to push it toward shore, but it was just too heavy, and we had to let it go," said Tony Segneri, Marie's nephew. The ocean eventually coughed up the ball later that day. Someone called authorities about the sphere, and the town sent a firefighter to investigate. A decision was made to leave it there and take another look when the sun was up. But when firefighters returned, it was gone. That's because Segneri stumbled across the silver sphere while walking along the beach that night with her nieces and nephews. Concerned that it was a hazard to children, her relatives pushed the sphere up a ramp from the beach and deposited it in the dunes in front of their Ocean Boulevard house, where it became something of a curious lawn ornament. "We just didn't know what to do with it," she said. Unable to determine what it is was and tired of looking at it, the family called police Wednesday. In no time, the area was roped off with yellow tape and official- looking people were crawling all over the sphere. The Segneris had planned to spend the day visiting local sights, but instead cracked sodas and pulled up lawn chairs to watch the action from their back porch. In the course of the afternoon, police, firefighters, the Air Force bomb squad, Coast Guard personnel and an inspector from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control came to examine the orb, which was parked on the ground beside a barbecue grill. Various people poked, rubbed, studied and photographed it. They contacted agencies such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but no one claimed ownership. The Coast Guard's best guess was that the sphere was some sort of flotation device used in a dredging operation. But the ball had no hooks or clamps where a line might be attached to hold it in place, Graham said. Finally, at about 4 p.m., crews hauled the sphere to the town's public works department for safe keeping. In the process, the orb cracked in half along a seam. No little green men came out, just some old seawater. "There was nothing green, nothing glowing," Graham said. "It will probably just go to the scrap yard." * Glenn Smith covers police and crime. Contact him at 937-5556 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright =A9 2002 Charleston.Net. All Rights Reserved.
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