The wreckage of U.S. Navy cruiser, lost during World War II, was found Friday by billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen and a team of researchers.
The vessel, the USS Indianapolis, was destroyed by a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945. The ship sunk quickly, within about 12 minutes. Of the 1,196 sailors and Marines onboard, only 316 survived — the Navy’s greatest single loss of life at sea in its history.
Until now, the Indianapolis’ final resting spot was a mystery, despite multiple attempts to find it.
Using newly found historical information and a state-of-the-art Remote Operated Vehicle technology, Allen’s crew searched 600 square miles of open ocean in the Philippine Sea. They finally located the ship Friday, 5,500 meters below the surface.
Prior to being sunk, the ship completed a secret mission to deliver components for one of the two nuclear weapons that ultimately helped end the U.S. war with Japan.
“To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role during World War II is truly humbling,” Mr. Allen said, in a statement.
The expedition team plans to survey the entire site and conduct a live video tour of the wreckage in the next few weeks.
Allen has been involved in other missions connected to naval history, including the discovery of the Musashi battleship wreckage in 2015, the recovery of the HMS Hood’s bell, and the location of the lost Artigliere Italian Navy ship.