The latest Outer Banks anomaly turned up on the beach at Hatteras on Sunday afternoon, and it may have fallen from the sky before it washed ashore.
Local authorities and others are generally describing the object as a slab of aeronautical debris.
The white, metal object is about 15 feet long and nine feet wide, according to Deputy Chief Ranger Mike Henry of the Outer Banks National Parks Service. It is curved and shows signs of tearing along one edge.
“It’s a piece of white metal aircraft part,” Henry said Thursday in an interview. “It’s long and it’s slender. It’s got three attachment points on one end of it.”
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Local photographer Erin Everlee posted dozens of photos of the object to Facebook on Monday.
“It does not appear to have been in the water for too long as there are not a lot of barnacles and it was in fairly good condition still,” Everlee wrote. “The National Park Service for Cape Hatteras National Seashore is currently investigating.”
Everlee told The Pilot that her gut feeling is that it is a rocket fairing – a protective nose cone that is jettisoned after a rocket escapes the atmosphere.
“I’m not sure. Before this I didn’t know what a rocket fairing was,” she told the Norfolk newspaper.
As of Thursday morning, the object remained at the ranger station in Buxton.
“We’ve reached out to Langley Air Force Base for identification on what it might be and are still waiting to hear back from them,” Henry said.