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Bus Carrying Sailors Drives Off Pier, Killing Three

May 26, 1993

COLTS NECK, N.J. (AP) _ A bus ferrying sailors from the Earle Naval Weapons Station drove off a pier and sank this morning, killing three.

Eight sailors and the driver were on the bus when it went into Sandy Hook Bay around 4:30 a.m., said Ruth Reich, a spokeswoman for the naval facility.

Six managed to escape with minor injuries and were on the 2.9-mile-long pier by the time rescuers arrived, said Middletown Police Lt. Cortlandt Best.

Dive teams tried unsuccessfully to save the other three, all sailors. The two pulled out first were not breathing but were taken to hospitals in hopes they could be revived. But they were both pronounced dead later.

The body of the third victim was not pulled from the bus until nearly two hours later, Reich said.

Names of the victims were not immediately released. Pat Keelen’s Bus Co. provides a transport service that every half hour carries Navy personnel between the base’s main gate and the pier, where six Navy vessels are stationed, Best said. Bus company officials had no comment.

The sailors were on their way to the ammunition ship Detroit when the accident occurred, Best said. He did not know whether they were beginning their shift or were returning to their sleeping quarters.

The base, 30 miles south of New York, serves as a weapons supply depot. The pier is several miles north of the base.

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