The U.S.S. Indianapolis Has Been Found After 72 Years

In Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, Quint goes on a monologue about how he was on a ship that was sunk in the Pacific Ocean and the survivors were stranded in the water for four days before being rescued during which time they faced starvation, dehydration, and, perhaps most terrifying of all, shark attacks. Quint’s story was based on the U.S.S. Indianapolis, a real ship that delivered parts that helped build “Little Boy”, the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

That ship, which was launched in 1931 after being built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey, was torpedoed and sunk on July 30th, 1945 by the Japanese submarine I-58, a vessel commanded by Lt.Cdr Hashimoto. The attack killed 300 of the ship’s near 1,200 crewmen, leaving the rest to float in the water after the wreckage sank in a stunningly fast 12 minutes. A few of the crew were lucky enough to stay in a handful of lifeboats. After those four agonizing days, a time that is explained by a rescue signal going unheard, less than 320 crewmen were pulled alive from the water. The only reason those men survived was because of a routine patrol of a PV-1 Ventura from VPB-152 flown by Lieutenant Wilbur Gwinn and co-pilot Lieutenant Warren Colwell, who spotted them on August 2nd.

The rescue of these men is rather incredible in its own right and I highly recommend you all take the time to read the Wiki page for the full story.

The reason I bring all of this up is because two days ago, Microsoft co-founder Paul Gardner Allen, having led a civilian research team, found the wreckage of the ship some 18,000 feet below the surface of the Phillipine Sea.

Allen stated (via BBC), “To be able to honour the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role during World War Two is truly humbling. As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances.

The vessel is still property of the US Navy, who are designating it a protected war memorial.

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Jonathan Barkan

Lifelong horror fan with a love of music on the side.

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