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Isles of Scilly rocket find was 'surreal' for local boatman

The debris sporting the American flag was covered in barnacles. Credit: MCA

The boat-skipper who discovered a piece of a US space rocket off the Isles of Scilly says the experience of finding it was quite surreal.

Joe Thomas spotted the 10 metre section of rocket on the surface of the sea between Bryher and Tresco yesterday afternoon.

It is thought the debris is from an unmanned US rocket that exploded just minutes after take-off from Florida in June.

The rocket is brought ashore to the surprise of locals. Credit: Pete Hicks

Although they may be used to flotsum and jetsum washing up on Tresco, residents don't see many space rockets and the discovery brought locals and school-children out to have a look.

Mr. Thomas helped tow the rocket ashore with the help of a local freight boat. He said:

"From a distance there were just loads of seabirds feeding on something on the surface and as we got closer it looked to be quite big. I thought maybe it was a dead whale as the guys were feeding off it but it was an object that I couldn't actually put my finger on what it was. It turns out to be that part of a rocket at the moment so last night was quite surreal."

"There's quite a lot of people gathered round it quite interested to see all the barnacles on it firstly and then to see the rocket underneath it, all the kids have been down there having a look."

The debris was towed ashore by several boats. Credit: Pete Hicks
4000
The distance in miles the debris travelled across the Atlantic Ocean.

The find is believed to be part of the doomed Space X Falcon 9, an unmanned rocket that was launched to take supplies up to the International Space Station but exploded shortly after it's launch from Cape Canaveral in June.

It came apart over the Atlantic Ocean and then travelled over 4000 miles to a place no-one quite expected it to turn up - on the Isles of Scilly.