The USS Indianapolis has been found, 72 years after it sank in the Philippine Sea.
Billionaire businessman and Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, led a 13 person team search, which found the wreck.
The ship was sunk in 1945 by a Japanese submarine after it had delivered the atomic bomb “Little Boy” to the island Tinian.
“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 said.
A Japanese submarine sunk the cruiser on July 30, 1945. The ship just completed a mission to the island of Tinian; they delivered components of the atomic bomb, “Little Boy” that helped end the war.
Around 800 of the ship’s 1,196 sailors and Marines survived the sinking, but after four to five days in the water, suffering exposure, dehydration, drowning, and shark attacks, only 316 survived.
“I’m very happy that they found it. It’s been a long 72 years coming,” said survivor Arthur Leenerman, 93 years-old from Mahomet, Ill.
— Paul Allen (@PaulGAllen) August 19, 2017
19 USS Indianapolis crew members are still alive today.
U.S. Naval Institute News reports:
Allen’s 13-person expedition team, on the R/V Petrel is in the process of surveying the full site and will conduct a live tour of the wreckage in the next few weeks. They are complying with U.S. law and respecting the sunken ship as a war grave, taking care not to disturb the site. The Indianapolis remains the property of the U.S. Navy and its location will remain confidential and restricted by the Navy.
The crew of the R/V Petrel has collaborated with Navy authorities throughout its search operations and will continue to work on plans to honor the 19 crew members still alive today, as well as the families of all those who served on the highly decorated cruiser.
The sinking of the USS Indianapolis resulted in the greatest single loss of life at sea in U.S. Navy history.