Reports are coming in that the USS Arizona Memorial was struck by the USNS Mercy while the massive hospital ship was attempting a docking operation in Pearl Harbor. It’s unclear if the hallowed site was hit by the ship, one of its tugs, or both and what kind of damage occurred, but eyewitness say they heard the ship hitting both the memorial and the underwater wreckage.
Visitor traffic to the WWII monument has been suspended as damage teams assess the structure and its surroundings, including the USS Arizona, which lies submerged beneath the memorial.
Military.com has a quote from one witness that is not encouraging:
You could hear the metal crunching. My husband said you could see mud and water being kicked up. It backed up to within feet of hitting the white memorial building.
The USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) is a huge vessel, measuring 894 feet long and displacing just over 69,000 tons. Her and her sister ship, the USNS Comfort, have been America’s premier hospital ships for decades.
These massive floating hospitals house 1,000 patients and carry everything necessary to stock a modern hospital in a major metropolitan area. They have had a constant presence at major US conflicts abroad since their introduction into service and have also been used for natural disaster recovery efforts around the globe.
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