Video: Intrepid makes its way down the Hudson

updated 12/5/2006 9:47:37 PM ET 2006-12-06T02:47:37

A month after a failed attempt to move the USS Intrepid, the historic aircraft carrier was freed Tuesday from the Hudson River anchorage where it had sat for nearly a quarter of a century.

"This old baby is moving," a joyous Intrepid Foundation President Bill White said aboard the vessel.

Some crew members cried and gave each other high-fives and hugs. Onlookers ashore cheered.

In the previous attempt, thick mud had proved too strong for six "tractor tugs" exerting some 30,000 horsepower.

Another battle occured this time, too — the blue water was churned dark brown as tugboats strained to inch the giant vessel away from its longtime home.

"If she doesn't move, we are going to jump in and push her," a former crew member, 84-year-old Joe Kobert, said on the Intrepid's deck before the behemoth began to move on Tuesday.

The smaller boats were pulling the ship stern first into the center of the Hudson River, then were to nudge the bow until it's parallel with the shore.

The Intrepid survived five Japanese kamikaze suicide plane attacks and lost 270 crew members in the last two years of the Pacific war. It later served off Korea and Vietnam and as a recovery ship for NASA astronauts.

Decommissioned in the late 1970s, it was destined for the salvage yard when rescued by New York developer Zachary Fisher and transformed into a floating military and space museum that opened in 1982, recently drawing upward of 700,000 visitors a year.

Intrepid officials said the $60 million overhaul, lasting up to two years, would include stem-to-stern "refurbishment and renovation" to repair deterioration and open up long-closed areas to the public.

The ship's exhibits were put in storage and most of its 20-plus vintage warplanes were shrink-wrapped for protection during the hiatus.

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