By: Earnest Jones | 08-20-2017 | News
Photo credit: Wikipedia

USS Indianapolis Recovered by Paul Allen-Backed Vessel After Worst Shark Attack In history

The USS Indianapolis was hit by Japanese torpedoes in the final weeks of WWII, aboard the ship were hundreds of crewmen who had to jump into the water to escape the burning ship. Surrounded by sharks, they waited for a response to their SOS. However, no one had been sent to check on them.

The unfortunate incident unfolded in late July 1945, while the USS Indianapolis had been on a special secret mission, delivering parts of the first atomic bomb to the Pacific Island of Tinian where American B-29 bombers were based. Having completed the job, the warship, which had 1,197 men on board, was sailing west towards Leyte in the Philippines when it was attacked.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Important chapter of WWII history concludes–I hope survivors/families gain some closure. Anchor and ship&#39;s bell seen here. <a href="">#USSIndianapolis</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) <a href="">August 19, 2017</a></blockquote>

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The torpedo hit the ship just after midnight on 30 July 1945 while a 19-year-old seaman, Loel Dean Cox, was on duty on the bridge.

Fast forward, crews from Paul Allen’s research vessel, the RV Petrel, located the USS Indianapolis on Friday resting on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean.

The ship sank within an hour, but the vessel’s loss went unnoticed until several days later. Roughly 800 of the ship’s 1,196 sailors and Marines survived the initial attack, but after days of drifting at sea, only 316 men survived.

Capt. William Toti (Ret), said that for more than two decades, he’s been working with the survivors of the tragic accident, adding that they’ve all longed for the day when the ship will be recovered.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We&#39;ve located wreckage of USS Indianapolis in Philippine Sea at 5500m below the sea. &#39;35&#39; on hull 1st confirmation: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) <a href="">August 19, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Dr. Richard Hulver released some information in 2016 which led to a new search area west of the original position. The 16-person team on the R/V Petrel will continue to process the full site and will conduct a live tour of the wreckage over the next few weeks.

The crew is continuing to work with the U.S. Navy on plans to honor the 22 crew members still alive, as well as the families of all those who served onboard.


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