U.S. Warship Indianapolis Found 18,000 Feet Deep in Pacific Ocean

August 20, 2017 Updated: August 20, 2017

Researchers have found the wreckage of the U.S. warship Indianapolis, which was sunk by a Japanese torpedo in the final days of World War Two, more than 18,000 feet (5.5 kilometers) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, the Navy said on Saturday (August 19).

The cruiser was returning from its mission to deliver components for the atomic bomb that would soon be dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima when it was fired upon in the North Pacific Ocean by a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945.

It sunk in 12 minutes, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington. No distress signal was sent. About 800 of the 1,196 crew members aboard survived the sinking, but only 316 were rescued alive five days later, with the rest lost to exposure, dehydration, drowning and sharks.

After a Navy historian unearthed new information in 2016 about the warship’s last movements that pointed to a new search area, a team of civilian researchers led by Paul Allen, a Microsoft Corp co-founder, spent months searching in a 600-square-mile (1,500-square-kilometer) patch of ocean.

With a vessel rigged with equipment that can reach some of the deepest ocean floors, members of Allen’s team found the wreckage somewhere in the Philippine Sea on Friday (August 18), Allen said in a statement on his website. The statement said the Navy had asked Allen to keep the precise location confidential. .

The Navy said it had plans to honor the 22 survivors from the Indianapolis still alive along with the families of the ship’s crew.