Divers patch a dozen holes in USS The Sullivans Friday
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WHEC) — Work to save the listing historic U.S.S. The Sullivans continued at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park Friday.
U.S. Coast Guard Captain Lexia Littlejohn said divers have finished work repairing the starboard side of the ship, patching 10 holes in total, and have started work on the port side, which is the side the ship was listing toward. Crews have plugged two holes that side so far. Most of those holes are between 1 inch and 3 inches.
Divers were able to get into the water on Wednesday they had planned to dive on Tuesday, but the water was too choppy so it was deemed unsafe. Since then, Littlejohn said 20,000 gallons of water have been pumped out of The Sullivans.
The patch work and the pumping have made an effect, Littlejohn said. She also shared what their next steps will be.
"We would like to get personnel into the vessel," Littlejohn said. "We need to develop a plan to be able to do that safely and so that’s what we’re working on. We need to figure out if we need to have air monitoring in place, we need to look at oxygen levels, those types of things."
Buffalo Mayor Byran Brown said this has not been an easy process.
"This mission is going to take some time," Brown said. "So again, as we have stated from the very beginning, this is not going to be completed quickly. This is going to take some time, and we’re asking the public to continue to be patient, and the public has been incredibly supportive."
The destroyer is a historic landmark and was named after five brothers from Iowa who died together on the U.S.S. Juneau in 1942.
The Sullivans saw battle in WWII and the Korean War before being decommissioned in 1965.
Divers have also recovered several historic artifacts from the ship.