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Report of ‘Downed Aircraft’ at Emeryville Marina turns out to be Unmanned Submarine

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An initial report of a “downed aircraft” apparently overheard through chatter on a police scanner turned into something almost equally bizarre on Sunday afternoon: An unmanned submarine painted with Captain America graphics (Spoiler Alert: It was not a publicity stunt for the release of the Marvel “Infinity Wars” movie.).

An Alameda County Fire Department Marine Unit responded to a report of a ‘vessel adrift’ in the bay waters about 12:30 p.m. After determining no one was aboard, they utilized a rescue boat to tow the vessel to the nearby Emeryville Marina.

Once secured to a dock, the Emeryville PD determined the vessel to be current in its registration and attempted contact with the owner (not Steve Rogers ;). It was then towed to a secure location.

Photo: Captain Drew Testwuide, Barbary Ghost.

“We saw a man towing the submarine out on Saturday,” noted witness Paul Kamen who was at the Berkeley Marina for sailing practice. “We all just assumed it was his, but apparently he was stealing it for a joy ride and eventually abandoned it.”

According to a recent Berkeleyside Facebook post, the sub’s owner is U.C. Santa Cruz PhD. candidate Shanee Stopnitzky who purchased it for $4,000. Stopnitzky notes studying corral reefs among her many interests on her personal blog.

KPIX CBS caught up to with Stopnitzky for a brief video segment (including a cameo by E’ville Eye Marina Reporter Cindy Warner) about her attempt to recover her submarine she says was stolen from Berkeley .

“They had turned a handful of the valves on so they were definitely trying to operate it,” Stopnitzky noted laughing off the ludicrousness of the situation.

The sub unfortunately suffered significant damage that she estimated could cost as much as $5,000 to repair but she was committed making it seaworthy again.

Anyone with information regarding the theft is encouraged to contact Berkeley PD at (510) 981-5900.

Feature Image: @AlamedaCoFire via Twitter.

Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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