Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scuba Divers Discover 1500 Live Ammunition Shells Under NY Bridge


COMMERCIAL divers were confident Sunday that they uncovered what the Navy missed more than 50 years ago during a frantic search that made national headlines in the US: roughly 1500 live shells that went overboard into New York's Verrazano Narrows and Gravesend Bay.

A four-person crew was last week searching for artifacts in the murky waters off New York Harbour's former Fort Lafayette - an island near Bay Ridge destroyed in 1960 to pave the way for the Verrazano Bridge.

Initially, the team planned to photograph a few small shells they found last year. But this time around, diver Gene Ritter was blown away by what he saw on the sea floor.

Scattered under only six meters of water were eight WWII-era copper artillery shells - including one five feet long - designed to shoot down airplanes and about 1500 large calibre machine gun shells designed to explode on contact.

"What a find," Mr Ritter said as he climbed aboard the vessel.

"They're all over the place. Hundreds of them."

He believes the ammunition came from the stockpile of 14,470 live rounds that splashed into the bay during a military accident March 4, 1954. The aircraft carrier USS Bennington, moored off the fort, had unloaded the firepower onto a barge that broke free during a storm, overturned and drifted six miles to the Rockaways, littering the muddy sea floor with live ammunition along the way.

Continue reading...

Bookmark and Share

No comments: