Shifting sand could determine final ownership of new North Carolina island

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Chad Koczera captured this shot of the island via drone.

BUXTON, N.C. — There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the new island that recently formed off the North Carolina coast – but who owns it?

The Associated Press reported that Dave Hallac, the superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, says the new mile-long island belongs to the state of North Carolina and it’s under the jurisdiction of Dare County — for now.

But if the strip of land — called Shelly Island — connects with land, ownership becomes a little less clear because it would then be part of the national seashore.

For now, experts say the island could continue to grow or completely vanish with the next big storm.

The new island appeared in the ocean almost overnight along the state’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Waters are deep and the current is strong.

Spotted by eagle-eyed locals on the ground — and photographed by Chad Koczera — the sandbank has grown from tiny isle to large land mass.

Now visitors are braving the waters to explore this new addition to the shoreline.

“Shelly island”

Some have nicknamed the isle “Shelly island,” visitor Janice Regan told The Virginian Pilot.

Apparently it’s the perfect spot to collect seashells.

Koczera, vacationing in the area with his fiancee, was also on the hunt for shells when he spotted the island.

“We originally headed that way to collect shells after a storm,” Koczera tells CNN Travel.

The photographer spotted the mysterious island, but realized he couldn’t access it by foot.

“So I sent my drone up to check it out,” he says.

Koczera was rewarded with spectacular photos of this sandy island.