UXO Found Near Major NYC Bridge

If you were to ask the nearly 200,000 people that go over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge each day about what their biggest concern was about their commute, probably very few of them would mention anything about a lost barge-load of military munitions tucked neatly under the world’s eighth largest suspension bridge.

It wouldn’t have been on my list of concerns either, until last Saturday night when I received a call from commercial diver Gene Ritter who had made an alarming discovery underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge: a stockpile of abandoned military munitions ranging in size from five foot shells designed to take down aircraft to over a thousand large caliber machine gun shells engineered to explode upon impact.  Intrigued, but also reminded of the 3 R’s of UXO encounters (Recognize, Retreat, Report), I cautioned Gene to discontinue diving on the targets and to alert the proper authorities.  I also offered to have Aqua Survey, from a safe distance, perform a side scan sonar survey of the area as a public service.  We did so last Sunday and provided a report to the authorities.

The recently discovered munitions are believed by some to be part of a cache of nearly 15,000 pieces lost in a barge accident after being off-loaded from the USS Bennington in 1954.

Further investigation, recovery and disposal of these munitions should be left to the proper authorities. Absolutely no one else should attempt to dive or anchor in this area.

-Ken Hayes