Normally when the people of the SouthCoast play “What was that noise?,” it is some kind of loud bang. Today, though, there were multiple instances of a long, droning, loud horn.

The horn began blaring at around 4:30 p.m. and kept going in sustained blasts for four to five minutes, on at least three occasions that we could hear. The horn seemed to vary in how loud it was, which makes it seem like it was an oscillating horn that was spinning around while blaring.

We called over to the Fairhaven Police Department to ask if they knew what it was.

“Unfortunately not,” the dispatcher said. “It seems to be coming from New Bedford.”

Michael Lawrence, Public Information Officer for the City of New Bedford, offered a likely possibility.

“I don’t know anything about it, but hurricane barrier maintenance has been going on this month with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and they may be testing the gate systems,” he said.

We reached out to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ main office in Concord, but it being the end of the day, we could only leave a voicemail.

We also reached out to the New Bedford Police Department, as the police chief doubles as the City’s harbormaster. Police spokesperson Lt. Scott Carola said he reached out to the sergeant of the marine unit but came up empty on any explanation.

“He is unaware of any reported sound or source,” Carola said.

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Online speculation ran rampant. Some thought it was tied into the Mayflower II passing through our waters on its way home to Plymouth, but the ship should have been docking in Plymouth right around the time it was heard and had left our area late this morning.

Others suggested it might be the fallout alarm for the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth; however, the reactor there was shut down in 2019, and we certainly would have received an Emergency Broadcast System transmission here at the radio station if that were the case.

Of course, other suggestions ran the gamut from the British returning to our shores as they did in 1776 and 1812, to a full-scale alien invasion.

We'll keep an ear out and let you know if we hear anything else.

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