NBC News and news services
updated 5/20/2011 2:12:41 PM ET 2011-05-20T18:12:41

An unidentified man created a stir on the James River Friday by floating in an inflatable raft with a metal chain around his neck attached to a black box, Coast Guard officials said.

The Virginia State Police said that the Coast Guard towed the craft to shore and that the 32-year-old Williamsburg resident, who was intoxicated, was taken into custody for medical observation.

The police said the box he had was X-rayed and contained only sand.

Coast Guard crews were alerted to the area because a crabber saw the man around 7 a.m. and offered to help. But, the man, believed to be in his 30s, told the crabber to go way, prompting the crabber to call 911.

The marine police, the U.S. Coast Guard, state police and several local police and fire agencies responded to a location near Fort Eustis, south of the James River Reserve Fleet.

The man was about a few miles away from the Surrey Nuclear Power plant, but there was no imminent threat to the site, said John Bill, spokesman for the Virginia Resources Commission.

State police had sent both a bomb squad and a tactical team to the scene.

The airspace around the incident was closed. Also, boaters were being rerouted around the scene, police said.

© 2013 msnbc.com

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