FREEPORT, TX (KTRK) --The tide brings with it strange things and countless pieces of debris. From driftwood to trash, the sand along the southeast Texas coast is littered with it.
But in Freeport it stranded something alien.
"We find a lot of strange things but this is definitely a first for us," said Freeport Police Chief Daniel Pennington. "Clearly it looked like it was something that had to do with either a plane or a ship is what we initially thought."
A passerby spotted the 8 foot by 8 foot barnacled rectangle in the sand and flagged down a police officer on patrol.
As it turns out, this flotsam was jettisoned from a European rocket called an Ariene Five.
It's a heavy lift vehicle that launches satellites and brings supplies to the International Space Station. It launched less than a month ago from the edge of the Amazon Jungle in Kourou, French Guiana, some 3,200 miles from Freeport, Texas.
"We talked with the FBI and the FAA. They got the information back to us," said Chief Pennington. He told Eyewitness News that the company which produced the rocket, ArieneSpace, will come collect the junk in the coming days or weeks.
Instead of burning up after the rocket separated, as designed, this piece somehow landed back in the Atlantic, orbited the Gulf, and stranded itself on a foreign land.