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Torpedo explodes according to plan

NEW YORK -- A torpedo with a 1,200-pound warhead exploded off the coast of Long Island Sunday, but rather than being alarmed, Coast Guard officials rejoiced in a job well done.

The torpedo was the unlikely catch earlier in the week of a fishing vessel prowling the waters off the Hamptons, and bomb experts had spent much of the past few days looking for ways to explode it safely.

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At 1:17 p.m. Sunday afternoon, the torpedo without a target was detonated, producing little more than a blip in the Atlantic Ocean.

'Everything went off pretty smoothly,' said Petty Officer Chris Zimmerman of the Coast Guard. 'It was under 60 feet of water, which muffled it pretty well.'

The task was not without its problems. One diver was injured earlier in the day while helping out in the operation, and had to be taken by helicopter back to his base in New London, Conn.

The MK15 torpedo was hauled in Wednesday by fishermen on the Shinnecock One while they were prowling the waters 60 miles off eastern Long Island.

Coast Guard and Navy officials decided that the best way to disarm the weapon was to sink the Shinnecock One and detonate the torpedo's 1, 200-pound warhead underwater.

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Navy Explosive Ordnance Detachment members placed charges on the torpedo about 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

The Coast Guard established a 3.5-mile safety zone around the torpedo. Local police departments enforced the zone by evacuating residents and closing roads, while Coast Guard boats restricted traffic near the fishing boat.

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