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Mysterious mine-like device detonated off New Jersey's coast

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By Lawrence Crook

The Navy detonated a large device described as being similar to a mine off the coast of Bay Head, New Jersey, Wednesday morning, sending a plume of water more than 100 feet in the air.

The device, suspected to be either a moored or contact mine, was discovered Tuesday evening by a swimmer off the coast of Bay Head, about halfway between New York City and Atlantic City. The device was mostly buried in the sand, which made it hard to identify, according to Mike Brady, public affairs officer for the Naval Weapons Station Earle.

An explosive ordnance disposal team was sent to detonate the device. The team determined the safest time to detonate the large device, which Brady said weighed several hundred pounds, was during the next high tide at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we asked the local police to evacuate about 15 families from their homes in the immediate area while the detonation occurred," said Brady.

The device was about 100 feet from the shoreline in 12 feet of water when the detonation occurred. There were no injuries.

Brady said CNN it's unclear how the device got there or how long it had been there. It's possible the device may have moved during Superstorm Sandy, but it may never be clear where it came from.

A piece of the device was secured and will be analyzed for clues about its origin.

"It's believed this is a one-of-a-kind event, and there do not appear to be any other devices in the area," Brady said.

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