Dolphin with special Navy program discovers historic torpedo

Only 2 of the torpedoes currently exist

SAN DIEGO - A dolphin learning to hunt for mines with the Navy Marine Mammal Program discovered a historic torpedo instead.

About a mile and a half off the Hotel Del in Coronado, a dolphin in training alerted crews of metal debris buried in the ocean floor.

When divers brought it up, Chris Harris with SPAWAR Systems still didn't believe it.

"There was a serial number stamped on it that said USN 24," said Harris.

After some research, officials learned what they had was a portion of an 1880s Howell torpedo, one of the most advanced weapons of its time.

Only 50 of the handcrafted brass torpedoes were made, and until this find, the only other that exists resides in a maritime museum in Keyport, Wash.

The torpedo is not intact, and divers were only able to recover the tail and middle sections, but it is a historic find nonetheless.

The torpedo is being preserved in a saltwater tank until naval historians come to claim it.


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