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LEGO Pieces Keep Showing Up on Cornish Beaches

In 1997, a container packed with tons of LEGO pieces disappeared into the ocean near Cornwall. There were reportedly millions of accessories – 4.7 million to be exact – in the shipment including daisies, scuba flippers, dragons, and more. According to the BBC, the contents of the container were spilled when the Tokio Express ship carrying it was slammed by a giant wave. A total of 62 containers went overboard, and while the fate of most of the products contained in them is a mystery, the LEGO bits are still showing up on Cornish beaches today. That’s so much cooler than the usual beach fare of shells and sea glass. But watch your step!

LEGO Beach 2

LEGO Beach 3

Because the universe has a sense of humor, many of the LEGO pieces in the shipment have a nautical theme. There are pirate cutlasses, life preservers, ship rigging net, seagrass, scuba gear, and octopi. Locals have made hunting for the LEGO treasures somewhat of a competition, and Tracey of Newquay maintains a Facebook page called LEGO Lost at Sea documenting the pieces people find.

While searching for the leftover remnants of the Tokio Express losses is fun and a bit of a tourist attraction, gathering the accessories also gets them off the sand and out of harm’s way. Like any other debris in the water and on beaches, the LEGO pieces present a threat to wildlife. It’s hard to say how many total LEGO bits have been collected in the 17 years since the incident, but it’s probably nowhere near the five million that spilled out of the container.

LEGO Beach 4

LEGO Beach 5

If you were in the area, would you consider stopping by Cornwall’s beaches for a LEGO treasure hunt?

HT: Gizmodo, photos via LEGO Lost at Sea


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  1. Matthew Scott says:

    “That’s so much cooler than the usual beach fare of shells and sea glass”…  why the hell are you celebrating a bunch of plastic floating around in the ocean then washing up on a beach?

  2. The P.C. term is now grammar terrorist.

  3. Back in 1992, a container containing 29,000 rubber duck fell overboard in the middle of the Pacific. 22 years later, they’ve washed ashore mostly in Washington and Oregon but as far as Hawaii, Australia, Chilli. They’ve even found some frozen in Arctic Ice. Then in in 2003 and 2007, some washed ashore in Scotland and France.

  4. Susan Snyder says:

    Sigh, the question was would you go to one of the beaches not about grammar. My answer to that question is Hell Yes – how much fun would that be!!!

  5. Alice Mccaig says:

    That’s Ms Grammar Nazi to ya’ll.

  6. Jessica says:

    It’s octopuses not octopi. Octopus is Greek not Latin – hence no plural with an i.