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USS The Sullivans Naval ship partially sinks in Buffalo

Salvage efforts are underway to rescue a partially submerged decommissioned WWII naval vessel in New York waters.

The historic USS The Sullivans took on water and partially sank at Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo.

Officials said the 78-year-old ship suffered a breach near midships as its right side bowed into the Buffalo River on Thursday.

The US Coast Guard said about 3 million gallons of water flooded the historic vessel.

“This ship is going to come up,” Naval and Military Park Chairman Paul Marzello said, according to the Buffalo News. “Failure is not an option.”

New York Governor and Buffalo native Kathy Hochul said emergency services were ready to save the “symbol of perseverance”, which has served as a museum ship since 1977.

“The USS The Sullivans is a tribute to our heroes – to a family who lost their five sons in the Pacific and to the 400,000 Americans who died in action during World War II”, Hochul mentioned. “Our state agencies are on site and ready to help revive this treasure and symbol of perseverance.”

The U.S. Coast Guard estimates the ship carried away about 3 million gallons of water.
Getty Images
USS The Sullivans (DD-537) is a Navy ship named after five brothers and was decommissioned in 1965.
USS The Sullivans (DD-537) is a Navy ship named after five brothers and was decommissioned in 1965.
Getty Images

The Coast Guard says there was positive progress in the dewatering process Thursday night. Rescue crews used pumps capable of removing more than 13,000 gallons of water per minute to minimize further sinking.

According to, a website dedicated to fundraising efforts to restore the ship, the USS The Sullivans suffered from Buffalo’s “harsh” weather and was in danger of sinking.

Last year, Marzello told The Buffalo News that the attraction would sink if repairs were not made. The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park raised $1 million to repair the ship in November.

USS The Sullivans is classified as a Fletcher-class destroyer named after five brothers – George, Frank, Joe, Matt and Al Sullivan. The quintet were killed in action after a torpedo hit the USS Juneau in 1942.

New York Post

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