MTA crews in New York may have pulled a sunken warship from the Harlem River that was once commanded by former President John F. Kennedy during the Second World War. 

A crane pulled the wreckage of what is believed to be the PT-59 - a ship once commanded by Kennedy - from the river at the end of May. 

Kennedy's wartime service is better remembered for his wartime service onboard the PT-109, a similar ship which sunk after it was rammed by a Japanese destroyer causing the future President and his surviving crew members to swim four hours through shark-infested waters before reaching relative safety on a small island. 

However, he took command of the PT-59 following that near-death experience and, somehow, this fascinating piece of history managed to end up at the bottom of a river dissecting one of the biggest cities in the world. 

William Doyle, who authored a biography about the story of the PT-109, told the New York Times that the PT-59 was "an unknown additional chapter" in Kennedy's Second World War exploits.

John F Kennedy in a patrol boat during World War II.

John F Kennedy in a patrol boat during World War II.

The PT boats, crewed by between 12 and 14 men, carried four torpedos and were used to attack Japanese ships and naval bases. 

While his survival story on the PT-109  solidified him as a war hero and helped him launch a political career following the war, the story of the PT-59 and how it ended up in New York is a "pretty great story too", according to Doyle. 

After his first patrol torpedo - PT - the boat was destroyed, Kennedy continued attacking Japanese ships in the Solomon Islands aboard the PT-59 and even rescued a 10-man crew of stranded marines in the northern part of the islands. 

Following the end of the Second World War, the boat was sold off and repurposed as a charter boat for anglers. 

Read more: On this day: Sept 21, 1941 John F. Kennedy enters the US Navy

The boat's machine guns were replaced with fishing equipment and the ship's now overly powerful engine was also replaced by a more efficient diesel engine. 

In 1970, an English teacher named Redmond Burke bought the boat for $1,000 to use as a houseboat unaware of the vessel's unique and presidential history. 

The boat had been partially destroyed by then and its engines had been removed, so Burke towed the PT-59 to an abandoned pier near 208th Street in Harlem. 

The ship was leaking by the time Burke brought it to Harlem, and he had to install a pump to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the Harlem River, which runs between Manhattan and the Bronx. 

The US Coastguard informed him at some stage that he was living on the PT-59, but Burke still remained oblivious to the fact that Kennedy had once commanded it. 

One of his students eventually researched the vessel and discovered that the boat was, at one time, under the command of JFK. 

Armed with this knowledge, Burke tried to interest various Kennedy groups and foundations into taking the vessel, but none were interested. 

In the end, the ship suffered a rather undignified fate when Burke decided to abandon it and it sank to the bottom of the river, where it has rested ever since.

Until recently it seems. 

As the MTA clears space underneath the surface of the Harlem River so it can install a $610 million seawall to protect the 207th Street railyard for flooding, it seems to have salvaged the wreckage from the water. 

MTA officials have concluded that the remains are likely those of the PT-59, the New York Times reports. 

And while there was little interest among Kennedy groups decades ago, there seems to be ample interest now.

Once the boat is confirmed to be the PT-59, it will likely go to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston or the Battleship Cove Maritime Museum in Falls River, Massachusetts. 

Read more: JFK's coconut: remembering the Navy sailor who saved the future president's life

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