Massive barnacle-encrusted wooden cross washes up in Florida, baffling beachgoers

ABOVE: Frank Talerico, the manager of the resort where the cross washed ashore, describes his surprise at the unusual find.

A mysterious, large wooden cross covered in barnacles washed up on a beach in south Florida over the weekend, baffling tourists who dragged it up from the shoreline.

On Saturday, the large religious symbol was spotted on a Fort Lauderdale beach near the Ocean Manor Beach Resort Hotel.

“I couldn’t believe that it was washing up on our feet right in front of us,” Greg Gay told WSVN News. “I felt really heavenly about it. It was a moment in time. Had we been 10 minutes before or 10 minutes later, we wouldn’t have seen it.”

Puzzled by the painted wooden cross, locals and tourists debated where the unusual ocean debris came from.

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“People have suggested possibly Puerto Rico. Others have said the Keys,” curious onlooker John Moschella told the news station. “It’s really unknown where it has come from.”

Well, the mystery of the cross’ origins may have been solved.

The Miami Herald reported that a woman believes the cross was erected on an island off North Carolina in 2016 in memory of her brother who disappeared while on a solo hunting trip in Hatteras Inlet.

“I think it might be my brother’s cross from the Hatteras in North Carolina,” Stowe told the newspaper on Wednesday. “A bunch of his friends went out there and Capt. Aaron Aaron built that cross and put it on the island.”

Stowe said erecting the cross in 2016 was a “labour of love and means a lot to us. We’d love to get it back.”

The woman speculated Hurricane Nate, which battered the region in 2017, may have swept the cross away from the island.

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Aaron told the Herald he believes the cross is in fact the one he built.

“The reason I know it is is I built it and notched it and can see the eye bolts and that it’s set off to one side,” Aaron said. “It’s the cross — 100 per cent.”

Both Aaron and Stowe have contacted the hotel where the cross sits on its property but have yet to make contact with the owner.

“We would love to see the cross come back to Hatteras. We set it up as a memorial. It was such a big ordeal when we never found him and he died at sea and that’s why this is so important,” Aaron said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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