Wreckage of USS Indianapolis found after 72 years

Maritime researchers lead by Paul G. Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, believe to have found the wreckage of USS Indianapolis, a United States Navy cruiser which sank 72 years ago, torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

Piece with the name of the vessel (by Paul G. Allen)

The researchers have discovered the wreckage on the seabed in the Philippine Sea, on a depth of around 5500 metres. The expedition has published pictures of the wreckage on the sea floor, including a piece of hull bearing the number 35. Just before the Indianapolis sank, it had completed a top secret mission: shipping parts of the atomic bomb that was later dropped on Hiroshima from San Francisco to Tinian Island in the Western Pacific.

USS Indianapolis (by United States Navy)

 It is believed that roughly 400 of the 1196 sailors and Marines onboard died in the initial attack, but those who escaped spent five days floating in shark-infested waters before they were rescued. Only 316 men were saved after an aviator spotted them by chance. The captain, Charles Butler McVay III, was court-martialed after the recovery, and had taken his own life in 1968. In 2001 he was officially exonerated by the Navy in 2001, after decades of campaigning by his supporters.

Ship’s hull (by Paul G. Allen)

(after Paul G. Allen, United States Navy & The New York Times)

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