The wreckage of a World War II boat believed to be commanded by late president John F. Kennedy was found in New York’s Harlem River last month. An MTA crane pulled the remains of what is believed to be the PT-59 ship, which was commanded by Kennedy during World War II.
Kennedy commanded the PT-59 just after leading the PT-109, which sank following an attack by a Japanese boat. After the PT-109 capsized, Kennedy and his crew swam for hours in the Pacific in shark infested waters before making it to a remote island.
PT boats carried anywhere between 12 to 14 men and contained torpedoes, which were used in the battle of the Pacific to attack the Japanese navy.
Following Kennedy’s use of the boat and the end of World War II, the PT-59 was sold and repurposed for anglers. The boats guns were replaced with fishing gear. In 1970, the vessel was purchased by an English teacher who used it as a houseboat.
The teacher had the damaged boat towed to 208th Street in Harlem, where he lived on it. After learning that the boat may have been commanded by Kennedy, he tried to sell it to various Kennedy historical societies, but had no takers.
The teacher abandoned the boat in the Harlem River, where it rotted and sank.
The MTA uncovered the remains of the boat as they were excavating the river as they prepare to install a $610 million seawall to protect the 207th Street rail yard from flooding.
Historians are working to verify that the boat is in fact Kennedy's, and if so, it will likely go to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum or the Battleship Cove Maritime Museum, both of which are in Massachusetts.