From: Associated Press
Published July 13, 2005 12:00 AM

Hurricane Dennis Flips Sunken Ship Upright off Key Largo

KEY LARGO, Fla. — What humans were unable to do, Hurricane Dennis handled nicely.


The former USS Spiegel Grove, serving as artificial reef on the bottom in 130 feet of water off Key Largo, flipped upright as the core of the storm passed some 200 miles to the west.


It's a position project organizers wanted since the retired 510-foot ship prematurely sank and rolled over May 17, 2002, leaving its upside-down bow protruding from the water.


A salvage team managed to fully sink the vessel three weeks later -- on its right side instead of its keel.


The Spiegel Grove is the most popular artificial wreck in the Florida Keys, home at least 166 different fish species, said Lad Akins of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation.


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But its realignment will make it a better platform for sports divers.


"I'm flabbergasted," Rob Bleser, volunteer project director, said Monday afternoon after a dive on the newly oriented Spiegel Grove. "Nature took its course and put it where it belongs."


The Spiegel Grove reef is about six miles off Key Largo. The ship, designed to carry cargo and craft for amphibious landings, was retired by the Navy in 1989.


Source: Associated Press


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