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World War II Submarine Floats For First Time In 50 Years After Massive Floods

A 95-metre submarine has been dislodged from dry land and floated for the first time in nearly half a century.

The USS Batfish has been drydocked in Muskogee War Memorial Park in Oklahoma since 1973, the 77-year-old vessel serving as a museum and a tourist attraction.

USS Batfish
The USS Batfish is 95 metres long. Photo: Facebook/Cliff Casteel.

The force behind record-breaking floods that have swept through the US Midwest in the past few weeks managed to move Batfish from its lodgings. Footage posted on Facebook shows the Batfish floating in the flood waters as the Arkansas River burst its banks and immersed the city.

Firefighters worked to stablise the vessel. They filled Batfish's tanks with water and secured mooring lines to the submarine.

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USS Batfish
The floods waters dislodged the ship from its holdings. Photo: Facebook/Jason Denno.

Arkansas River levels have broken the record of 11.6 metres set in 1945. Last Sunday, the water levels had reached nearly 12 metres and are tipped to rise close to 13 metres by the middle of this week.

And the situation is predicted to worsen.

Residents of Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and parts of Nebraska and Iowa have been issued with urgency evacuation warnings as floodwaters continue to rise. Rain is forecast in both Oklahoma and Arkansas over the next few days.

USS Batfish
The Batfish during its years of service. Photo: Facebook/Darren Stephans.

The USS Batfish was a powerful vessel during World War Two. It's famed for sinking 15 Japanese warships including three submarines in just 76 hours. For this, Batfish is remembered as one of the most successful submarines in the US fleet.

Construction on the Batfish started in December 1942 and by May 1943 it was launched to take part in the war in the Philippine and South China Seas.

The vessel was decommissioned following World War II before briefly returning to service during the Korean War in 1952.

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Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au