Police postpone retrieval of cannon from river

Associated Press
This photo shot by Sgt. Ken Stiel and provided by the Detroit Police department shows a cannon believed to be more than 200 years old in the Detroit River. Divers planned on recovering the cannon on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 before murky waters and a strong current forced a cancellation of the project. It's the fifth cannon found in the area in three decades.  (AP Photo/Detroit Police, Sgt. Ken Stiel)
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This photo shot by Sgt. Ken Stiel and provided by the Detroit Police department shows a cannon believed to be more than 200 years old in the Detroit River. Divers planned on recovering the cannon on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 before murky waters and a strong current forced a cancellation of the project. It's the fifth cannon found in the area in three decades. (AP Photo/Detroit Police, Sgt. Ken Stiel)

DETROIT (AP) — Police divers on Wednesday postponed retrieval of a possibly centuries-old cannon from the Detroit River after strong currents and murky water thwarted efforts to raise it to the surface.

The divers were assisted by the U.S. Coast Guard until the operation was shut down, Detroit police spokeswoman Eren Stephens said.

No new recovery date was announced.

Dive team members discovered the cannon about 200 feet from Cobo Center in downtown Detroit during a training session in July. It's the fifth cannon found in the area in three decades.

Once it's recovered, the Detroit Historical Society hopes to restore and preserve the cannon, which is more than 6 feet long and likely weighs about 1,200 pounds.

Three other cannons were recovered in the 1980s and a fourth was recovered by the department's dive team in 1994. Those are believed to be British and French. Detroit Historical Society Curator Joel Stone said the latest find will be studied to try to determine its age and where it came from.

"This is all kind of a detective thing," Stone told the Detroit Free Press. "You get one piece of the puzzle, and then you get another piece of the puzzle."

The cannon could be one of several believed to have fallen into the river in 1796 when they were being transported by the British, Detroit police said. Cannons that have been found in the area, however, also may have gone down anytime up to the War of 1812, Stone said.

Sgt. Dean Rademaker, who took part in the dive when the last cannon was found in 1994, spotted what turned out to be the latest one in July. Department divers previously had been to that area of the river hundreds of times without finding it, Rademaker said.

"I thought to myself, 'You gotta be kidding me,'" he said of the discovery.

Divers more typically find cars and guns. In 2009 during a training session, they turned up a 6-foot, 300-pound bronze statue that had been missing for more than eight years from the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. The statue was returned to its suburban Detroit home.

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