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New York 'submarine' near luxury ship yields 3 arrests

  • Story Highlights
  • Three people arrested near the dock of the Queen Mary II
  • One found floating in replica of a Revolutionary War submarine
  • No indication of any connection to terrorism
  • Odd submarine appears to be hobby of one of those arrested, officer says
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From Richard Davis
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Authorities arrested three people Friday after detectives saw a replica of a Revolutionary War submarine floating near the dock of the Queen Mary II.


Authorities arrested a man found floating in an odd-looking submersible vessel Friday.

An Intelligence Division detective spotted two men in an inflatable boat and a third in a partially submerged vessel in a channel off the East River near Brooklyn, according to a New York Police Department statement. The NYPD Harbor Unit was called to the scene.

The vessel is an 8-foot replica of the 1776 submersible known as the Turtle, said Petty Officer Seth Johnson of the U.S. Coast Guard. It was unclear what the people were doing, but there was no indication of any connection to terrorism, he said.

The vessel "is the creative craft of three adventuresome individuals," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a statement, according to WABC-TV. "We can best summarize today's incident as marine mischief."

Initially the men were going to be charged on a number of violations, but as of Friday afternoon, it was unclear if any charges would be brought forward.

The odd-looking submarine appears to be a hobby of one of those arrested -- Philip Riley, 35, of Brooklyn, Johnson said.

Police said one of the men claimed to be a descendant of David Bushnell, the inventor of the original Turtle, WABC reported.

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The Connecticut River Museum claims to own the only working, full-scale model of the submarine. The one-man, hand-propelled vessel was used in September 1776 in a failed attempt to attach a bomb to the hull of a British warship.

Because of weather problems and other difficulties, it was never used in action again, the museum says. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Jeanne Meserve contributed to this report

All About RMS Queen Mary 2

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