A New York man thought he saw a stranded buoy during a recent nature walk, until he got closer and noticed it had a propeller and a “disturbing” flashing light, photos show.

The most Tyler Davis hoped to find at Sampson State Park was peace and quiet, maybe some fossils and “great views” of Seneca Lake, he told McClatchy News.

Instead, he found what appeared to be a misplaced weapon of war.

“Well, I think maybe I ran into a torpedo.” Davis said in a Feb. 10 Facebook post, sharing a photo of his surprising find.

Photos show a New York man tripped over a torpedo-like object while visiting a state park.  tyler davis

Photos show a New York man tripped over a torpedo-like object while visiting a state park. tyler davis

“Did you try to hit him with a hammer?” said one commenter.

Another suggested the… a little safer? – throwing big rocks at him to “see if something happens” approach.

But, dangerous or not, Davis was too curious to stay away from the object.

“I knew I had found something very interesting,” he said. “The only disturbing thing was the flashing lights of the sensors going off.”

Upon closer inspection, markings and lettering can be seen throughout the item, as the photos show.

The object had warnings.  tyler davis

The object had warnings. tyler davis

Along the messy exterior was also a phone number, Davis said. She called but no one answered, so she left a message.

“It had some warnings, but I had no idea if it was dangerous or not,” Davis said.

While waiting for a call back, it occurred to him that the torpedo-like object would make a great souvenir, assuming it didn’t explode and start leaking nuclear waste.

“The idea definitely came up to take it, but since it was still working and flashing, I wanted to return it,” he said.

Eventually, Davis’ call was returned.

The mysterious device belonged to a military base, the Seneca Lake Sonar Test Facility, according to Davis. And it was not a torpedo, but an MK 39 training device, he added.

According to the Navy, the MK 39 Disposable Mobile Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Target, or EMATT, is used in training to “simulate the acoustic and dynamic characteristics of a submarine.” In other words, it functions as a dummy submarine, a target that sailors use “to train their detection, tracking and weapons employment skills,” the Navy says.

A closer look at the MK 39 found by Tyler Davis.  Tyler Davis.

A closer look at the MK 39 found by Tyler Davis. Tyler Davis.

Davis then helped the Navy find their lost MK 39.

“When they finally contacted me, they thanked me… and asked me to mark it on a map so they could get it back,” he said. “They said that after their tour they return to the surface and pick them up, but this one escaped.”

McClatchy News reached out to the Navy for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Davis may have missed the opportunity to have the best topic of coffee table conversation, he said, but at least he got a good story.

It’s “the best find I’ll probably ever have in my life!” he said. “Plus, I got to share it with a lot of people, so I’m happy!”

Sampson State Park is about 250 miles northwest of New York City.

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By Sam