USS Oriskany Sent to Gulf Floor

05-17-06 - The U-S-S Oriskany Wednesday has been sent to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico off Florida. The retired aircraft carrier, which formerly was berthed at Beaumont, Texas, is the world's largest intentionally created reef.

Navy divers set off about 500 pounds of explosives to send the rusting ship on a 212-foot plunge. The Oriskany was in Pensacola, Florida, in late 2004, but was towed to Beaumont last June to shelter it from 2005 hurricanes. Pensacola officials hope the ship's long-delayed sinking will boost the slumbering tourism industry by attracting sport divers and fisherman.

Arizona Senator John McCain flew off the Oriskany before he was taken captive in Vietnam. The Oriskany also saw combat in Korea and was featured in movies "The Bridges of Toko Ri" and "The Men of the Fighting Lady."