WILLOUGHBY, Ohio (WJW) — U.S. Air Force investigators have zeroed in on an unusual find in the Chagrin River. Three young fishermen discovered the bizarre military-looking device in Daniels Park in Willoughby.
“It was really heavy, I mean, we didn’t know what it was at first,” 20-year-old Jake Nottingham told Fox 8.
Nottingham says he had no clue what he stumbled upon in the Chagrin River just after noon on Friday. He, along with 20-year-old Nick Wagner and 14-year-old Brandon Dunn were fishing for carp when they discovered a shiny, bronze object in the water.”
“We thought it was on of those, you know how sometimes people put like time capsules and stuff in the river and stuff. We thought it was one of those because we couldn’t see the tail fin, so we were like, ‘oh, let’s try to get it.’ We were trying to lift it and stuff and then, like, we brushed off the back and we saw the tail fin and then a little latch on top and we were like, ‘we gotta stop touching the thing,'” said Wagner.
“I moved it and we flipped it over and then, I was like, ‘Nick, I think we found something’ and we brushed it off. It looked like a bomb and we were like, ‘dude, I think that’s a bomb, so let’s call somebody,'” said Nottingham.
The young men, visiting from Virginia, first called a relative, who told them to contact Willoughby police. Police closed the park, and called in the bomb squad.
Bomb squad members, not knowing exactly what they were dealing with, contacted explosives officials from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.
“The team from the Wright-Patterson Air Force base down in Dayton arrived, they went in and they analyzed the object that was in the water removed it from the water and subsequently determined that it was actually a pre-World War II sampling device,” said Willoughby fire chief Todd Ungar.
Willoughby police shared photos of what the water sampling device looked like once they retrieved it from the water.
“It does kind of look like it would be some kind of explosive device that was shaped like some sort of missile or torpedo,” said Ungar.
By 7:30 p.m., the park and Route 84, Johnnycake Ridge Road, which had been closed, were re-opened and Willoughby residents and first responders were relieved.
“It definitely looked like a bomb,” said Dunn.
“No hazard whatsoever, it makes sense, we used to have a water treatment plant across the street, so it’s very possible that that was used for water sampling,” said Ungar.
Air Force officials took the device back with them Dayton to further analyze it.