The US Navy’s biggest loss at sea was the USS Indianapolis after it sank when hit by a torpedo carried by Japanese Submarine 1-58 on July 30, 1945. The vessel was sailing between the Gulf of Leyte in the Philippines and Guam. The wreckage was found 3.4 miles below the water surface. The ship had just finished delivering parts of the atomic bomb, Little Boy to Tinian. The bomb was later used in bombing Hiroshima in Japan.

The discovery of the site of the USS Indianapolis provides closure to survivors

Philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who led the civilian research crew, announced the good news that will now provide a closure to the tragedy.

The vessel rapidly sank in just 12 minutes, so fast that the crew was not able to send a distress signal as reported by The Guardian.

Research Vessel Petrel manned by 13 men owned by Allen discovered the ship and they are still surveying the Indianapolis site. Many books have been written about the tragedy met by the USS Indianapolis and its role in ending World War II.

A historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command, Richard Hulver, paved the way to the discovery of the USS Indianapolis after he determined a new search area. His research found a naval landing craft that had recorded a sighting of the vessel the day before the accident as reported by the Aljazeera.

After the sinking, 800 of the ship’s 1,196 crew initially survived but were trimmed down to 316. They faced hypothermia, dehydration, and saltwater poisoning or Hypernatremia.

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The water where they stayed afloat for several days was shark-infested. Twenty two survivors remain alive until today according to the US Navy. Allen said in view of the recent maritime feat that Americans owe a debt of gratitude to the crew of the ill-fated vessel for their persistence, courage, and sacrifice amidst the tragedy. Allen also said that the search for the wreckage will continue.

The USS Indianapolis is the biggest maritime loss to date

Aside from the books written about the USS Indianapolis, a movie was produced by Michael Mendelsohn and Richard Rionda Del Castro titled “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage.” The movie starred Nicolas Cage, Tom Sizemore, James Remar, Brian Presley, Thomas Jane, Matt Lanter, and Cody Walker. The story was based from the incident surrounding the sinking of the war ship and the individual stories of the survivors. However, critics did not give favorable reviews for the movie. It has 9% “Rotten” rating from Rotten Tomatoes.