BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A model German U-boat rolled into the Edgewater Mall parking lot Thursday morning. Crews immediately hitched her up for a move that wasn't exactly smooth sailing.
The door near the Tulane entrance was eight feet high. The submarine on a trailer was seven-feet, six-inches. Talk about a close call.
"It was kind of tight getting it through the door. That's a breeze. Now trying to get it turned to its final destination is going to be a chore," said Robin Krohn-David, Director of the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum in east Biloxi.
That's because the vessel was a bit too long to make a sharp right turn in such a small space.
"We're trying to get it to maneuver the corner and it's a little long. It's 45 foot plus, counting the trailer," said Krohn-David.
The challenging move caught the attention of curious shoppers and made a few onlookers a bit nervous.
"I'm thinking they got close quarters here to get it in there. I just think they should have done a little bit more planning," said Harold McDaniel, a WWII Veteran from Gulfport.
The move had to be slow and delicate. After all, there is a lot of history behind the attraction. The U-166 was the only German U-boat sunk in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II. In 2000, Universal Studios built the model boat for the movie U-571. A Florida man purchased the vessel. In 2004, he traded it for another boat at the Seafood Museum.
"It's been at Point Cadet. Of course, we moved it in '05, the day before the storm, up to the federal building. So she was fine," said Krohn-David.
Museum leaders want to display the sub at their temporary home in front of Belk's until a new museum is built. But as crews tried to make that final turn, they ran into some major obstacles.
"The corner, it's too tight and too many kiosks involved and we will actually have to move several kiosks, major kiosks, to get it around the corner," said Krohn-David.
So for now, the boat will be anchored in front of the Food Court.
When asked if she was disappointed at all, Krohn-David replied: "Oh no. I'm happy to have it out here. I really am. I'm glad to have it indoors and out of the weather.
"I think it's a great location. I think a lot of people are going to come by it here," said Terry Powell, Edgewater Mall Manager. "It's a great opportunity for us to showcase the submarine out here, and hopefully create a little traffic out of it."
Signs will go up on the boat exhibit, directing people to the museum's temporary location in the mall. The new museum, to be built at Point Cadet, is expected to take about two years to complete.