Low Mississippi River Levels Reveal Sunken WWII Ship in St. Louis
The Mississippi River water level was low enough to expose a decaying piece of naval history in St. Louis this week.
The USS Inaugural, a minesweeper used in WWII, was a National Historic Landmark before it broke free of its moorings during historic flooding in August 1993. When, according to the National Park Service (NPS), "the ship suffered a breach in its hull, took on water, and rolled on its side." The rusted ship has remained in that position and partially submerged near downtown St. Louis since that time.
The Mississippi River was reportedly at 3.85 feet and falling when the ship was spotted Tuesday. KTVI's Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX helicopter recorded aerial footage (below) of the wreck.
This isn't the first time that low Mississippi River levels have exposed the USS Inaugural. It was revealed in 2012 and again in 2015.
The Inaugural reportedly participated in the invasion of Okinawa and served as a patrol ship in other South Pacific battles during WWII. After the war, the 184-foot ship conducted minesweeping operations in the waters around Japan and Korea, clearing a total of 82 mines during its tenure.
Plans to salvage and restore the USS Inaugural have been deemed "not feasible." The ship has been determined a total loss and will one day be salvaged for scrap metal. That day has yet to come.