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Historic World War II destroyer sinking on Buffalo waterfront as crews race to rescue it

A decommissioned World War II-era destroyer docked near downtown Buffalo in New York was taking on water and listing perilously on Thursday.

Crews were working to keep USS The Sullivans from sinking at its berth at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, where it had been open for tours.

"We've got a committed group down here. We're not going to give up the ship and failure is not an option," said park president Paul Marzello.

Marzello said they believe there was a breach on the right side of the hull Wednesday night. He said crews trying to stabilize the 79-year-old vessel are pumping out up to 13,000 gallons a minute.

"I think we've seen the worst, but I don't know," he said.

"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," Gov. Kathy Hochul wrote on Twitter. "Our state agencies are on site and ready to help revive this treasure and symbol of perseverance."

USS The Sullivans, a National Historic Landmark, was named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa. The brothers were killed in action when the USS Juneau was sunk by the Japanese in the South Pacific during World War II.

More than $1 million was raised last year to repair the ship's breached hull. Crews paused work over the winter and were to resume repairs Monday, Marzello said.

USS The Sullivans is one of four decommissioned Naval vessels at the park.

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