US space rocket debris found in sea off Scilly

A large chunk of an American space rocket has been found in the sea off the Isles of Scilly.

A large section of a spacecraft, measuring about 10m (32ft) by 4m (13ft), was spotted on the surface between Bryher and Tresco.

Coastguards believe it is from the unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 which exploded after take-off in Florida in June.

Local boatmen towed the section to Tresco where it is under guard on the beach.

Joseph Thomas, from Tresco Boat Services, found the section of rocket while travelling around the north end of the island.

He said: "There were lots of gulls on the water and I thought initially it was a dead whale and the birds were feeding off it."

Mr Thomas found the debris at about 14:00 GMT on Thursday about 100m (328ft) from the shore.

"I didn't know what it was. We tried to drag it ashore using a hook, but it bent it," he said.

"It was too heavy for us to tow."

Coastguards issued a warning to shipping in the area after the discovery.

Spokesman Martin Leslie said: "The markings show an American flag. It looks like it's an American rocket and seems most likely to be the unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 which blew up shortly after take-off from Cape Canaveral in June.

"We're grateful for all those who helped in its recovery, it was a great example of the community working together."

The rocket, which broke up shortly after take-off and landed in the sea about 4,100 miles from the Isles of Scilly, was in the process of sending a cargo ship to the International Space Station.

Islander Pete Hicks, who towed the debris to shore, tweeted: "Towed in and beached a piece of flotsam earlier. Thoughts were could be aviation parts…didn’t imagine space race."

Cornwall-based Michelin chef Nathan Outlaw tweeted: "Look at all those goose neck barnacles! How much do you want for them? Make a great special!"

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