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Rubber bales from WWII era wash up on Padre Island beaches

The bales come from the SS Rio Grande, a German blockade runner, which was carrying tin, copper, cobalt and crude rubber bales when it sank in 1944, officials said.
Credit: Padre Island National Seashore

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Rubber bales from the World World II era are washing up on South Texas beaches. 

The Padre Island National Seashore said these bales originally began washing up on beaches in Brazil.

The bales come from the SS Rio Grande, a German blockade runner, according to the national seashore, which was carrying tin, copper, cobalt and crude rubber bales when it sank in January 1944 off the coast of Brazil.

As the wreckage began to break up, the bales floated up from the ocean floor and into the North Brazil current, the national seashore said. From there, the bales floated in a series of currents before reaching the Gulf of Mexico and our beaches. 

National seashore officials said these bales first began washing up here in 2020. Each one weighs about 200 pounds. 

Rubber bales like this one started washing up on Texas and Florida beaches in 2020, but before that, they were washing...

Posted by Padre Island National Seashore on Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The shipwreck of SS Rio Grande was the deepest-known shipwreck up until 2021. It was found at a depth of 5,762 m (18,904 ft) in the South Atlantic by Blue Water Recoveries Ltd  on November 30, 1996. USS Johnston recently took over that title.

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