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Treasure Hunters Going for the Gold in British Ship

March 28, 1985|JENNINGS PARROTT

--Treasure hunters who found the wreck of the ship Whidah off Cape Cod last summer are searching for a British payroll ship that sank during the Revolutionary War off the coast of the South Bronx. Barry Clifford, president of Maritime Explorations, said the ship, the frigate Hussar, may have been carrying gold and silver now worth as much as $500 million when it sank in 1780. One report at the time said 14 wagons of gold were loaded on board shortly before it left Lower Manhattan, he said. "How much is a wagon load of gold worth?" he asked. On Sept. 13, 1780, the Hussar left Manhattan carrying colonists loyal to the Crown back to England and a payroll to the British garrison in Newport, R.I. The ship headed up the East River in the dark but hit a reef and sank within an hour. "A tremendous amount of folklore grew up" around the Hussar, Clifford said. "But what I've sunk my teeth into is the fact that the Royal Navy tried to salvage (the ship) several times. They weren't looking for musket balls."

--Princess Margaret, who had part of a lung removed in January, has canceled a public appearance in Scotland Friday on doctors' orders, her London office said. "Doctors said she was doing too much too soon," a spokesman said. Press reports have said that the 54-year-old sister of Queen Elizabeth II has given up smoking.

--President Reagan ordered Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret M. Heckler to begin a nationwide appeal for a liver for Ryan Osterblom, a 14-month-old critically ill boy from Indialantic, Fla. White House spokesman Larry Speakes said the President opened his Cabinet meeting by telling Heckler to make the boy's case public in hopes of finding an organ donor. Speakes said that the case was brought to Reagan's attention by Rep. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) at a recent meeting and that Reagan had written to the infant's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Osterblom, expressing his concern. Although Ryan is one of many patients in need of transplants, Speakes said that Reagan chose him for publicity because he is said to be in a "life-threatening situation" and because his plight was brought to the President's attention personally. Speakes said a special office in the White House has assisted about 600 persons in need of transplants in the last three years.

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