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Undersea Data Station Vanishes Without a Trace

All divers found was a shredded cable
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2019 7:25 AM CDT
The cable was "completely shredded," the observatory says.   (Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research)
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(Newser) – An undersea data station off the coast of Germany has mysteriously vanished—and unless the Kraken has awoken, authorities say sea creatures couldn't be responsible. Baffled authorities at the Geomar Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research say the 1,700-pound underwater observatory installed in late 2016 stopped sending back data on Aug. 21, the BBC reports. When divers were sent to investigate, they found only the remains of a "shredded" power cable that had connected it to the coast 1.2 miles away. The $330,000 data station collected information on seawater including the levels of salt, oxygen, chlorophyll, and methane. "The data we get from it is priceless," says Prof. Hermann Bange, head of oceanographic research at the Geomar center.

The center says the two heavy units that made up the station were "removed with great force from their position," Gizmodo reports. Storms and currents have also been ruled out as the cause of the disappearance, leaving people as the likeliest culprits, though it's not clear who would have been interested in stealing the equipment or whether it would have any resale value. The station was at a depth of 72 feet in Eckernförde Bay, around 45 miles south of the Danish border. It was in a prohibited area where no boats are allowed, say authorities. A police investigation has been opened and authorities have asked the public to report any sightings of suspicious people or vessels in the area on Aug. 21—and to turn in any equipment that might wash up. (Read more Germany stories.)

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