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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: -1°C
USS Indianapolis

Lost US Navy warship found seven decades after it was sunk in the final days of World War II

The location of the ship was unknown as no distress signal was sent.

Wikimedia / US Navy The USS Indianapolis in 1939 Wikimedia / US Navy / US Navy

RESEARCHERS HAVE DISCOVERED the wreckage of the lost warship the USS Indianapolis, 72 years after the World War II cruiser was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

The wreckage was found in the Philippine Sea 5.5 kilometers below the surface, according to philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who headed the civilian research crew that located the ship.

The ship was hit in the final days of World War II just after completing a secret mission delivering parts of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima.

The vessel sank in just 12 minutes, meaning it was unable to send a distress signal or deploy life-saving equipment, according to the history division of the US Navy.

Some 800 of the ship’s 1,196 sailors and marines initially survived the maritime disaster, but only 316 ultimately lived after enduring several days in shark-infested waters where they also faced risks of dehydration and drowning. Of those survivors, 22 are still alive today, the US Navy said.

USS_Indianapolis_(CA-35)_underway_in_1944_(stbd) Wikimedia / US National Park Service gallery The USS Indianapolis in 1944. Wikimedia / US National Park Service gallery / US National Park Service gallery

“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 in ending World War II is truly humbling,” said Allen.

As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances.
While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming.”

Allen posted several photos of the wreckage on his Twitter account, including images of the ship’s anchor and bell.


Before it was struck the USS Indianapolis was advancing towards the Philippines to deliver atomic bomb parts to Tinian island.

But four days after completing that mission, on July 30, 1945, it was spotted by a Japanese submarine that fired six torpedoes at the vessel.

The Indianapolis burst into flames when one hit a magazine near the fuel bunker and another struck the ship’s bow.

Others have searched for the Indianapolis in the past, but the wreckage location long eluded researchers.

© – AFP, 2017

Read: Sonar searches for Spanish Armada wreckage to take place in Co Sligo >

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