BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It has officially been a week long effort to save the U.S.S. the Sullivans from sinking. On Thursday, crews were able to plug 11 small holes from the size of a dime to two and a half inches. They were able to save dozens of artifacts from a room on the ship, completely unharmed.
There are also three pumps in the bowel area, removing about 1,000 gallons of water from the ship per minute. But Thursday, the weather hindered heavy progress.
"Winds were high. We tried to put some divers in the water, but didn't have much luck. It was quite dangerous with the water levels rising and the winds were high. The ship had a possibility of moving around, so we pulled them out," Paul Marzello, the President and CEO of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park said.
Marzello said the biggest success of the day was that crews were able to recover artifacts from one of the rooms on the ship.
"We're taking off artifacts like the model, the scale model of the Sullivans, pictures of the Sullivan boys, some documents all coming off the ship dry and intact. That's great news," Marzello said.
Crews said they are hoping they'll be this fortunate as they continue moving forward, but there are still plenty of hurdles.
"Chances are we're not going to be that lucky. We're going to areas where things are going to be wet, maybe oily, maybe destroyed," Marzello said.
John Savino and his two sons drove to Buffalo from Rochester to visit the U.S.S. the Sullivans. They said they had never seen the Sullivans before, but are hoping they can come back soon for a tour.
"My boys are on break from school this week. We decided we'd take a drive up and go to Anchor Bar and see the Sullivans," Savino said, "It's sad to see it. I'm really hopeful that it can be restored. My dad is an almost 96-year-old navy veteran. He was in WWII on a small ship. I remember as a kid hearing the story about the Sullivans."
Marzello said the operation will continue 7-days a week, moving as fast as weather allows.
"We're doing everything we can to save this ship. Failure is not an option," Marzello said.