USS The Sullivans Naval ship partially sinks in Buffalo

Rescue efforts are underway to save a decommissioned World War II-era Naval vessel partially submerged in New York waters.

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

Officials said the 78-year-old ship suffered a breach near the middle of the ship as its right side tilted into Lake Erie on Thursday.

The US Coast Guard said more than 3 million gallons of water flooded the historic ship.

“This ship will rise again,” Naval and Military Park President Paul Marzello said, according to the Buffalo News. “Failure is not an option.”

New York Gov. and Buffalo native Kathy Hochul said emergency services are prepared 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 that lost all five of its sons in the Pacific, and to the 400,000 Americans who died fighting in World War II,” Hochul said† “Our State agencies are on site and ready to help revive this treasure and symbol of perseverance.”

The US Coast Guard estimates the ship took on roughly 3 million gallons of water.
The US Coast Guard estimates the ship took on roughly 3 million gallons of water.
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The USS The Sullivans (DD-537) is a Navy vessel named after five brothers and was decommissioned in 1965.
The USS The Sullivans (DD-537) is a Navy vessel named after five brothers and was decommissioned in 1965.
Getty Images

The Coast Guard claims there’s been positive progress in the dewatering process Thursday night. Rescue crews used pumps capable of removing upwards of 13,000 gallons of water per minute to minimize further sinking.

According to SaveTheSullivans.org, a website dedicated to fundraising efforts to restore the ship, USS The Sullivans suffered in the “harsh” Buffalo weather and faced the risk of sinking.

Last year, Marzello told The Buffalo News the attraction would sink if repairs weren’t made. The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park raised $1 million to repair the vessel in November.

The USS The Sullivans is classified as a Fletcher-class Destroyer ship named after five brothers — George, Frank, Joe, Matt and Al Sullivan. The quintet was killed in action after a torpedo struck the USS Juneau in 1942.

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