PHILIPPINE SEA – After 72 years, the USS Indianapolis has finally been found.
Led by a search team put together by billionaire Paul Allen, the ship was found resting at the bottom on the Philippine Sea.
“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 317 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.
Allen’s 13-person team, on the R/V Petrel is in the process of surveying the site and will reportedly conduct a live tour of the wreckage in the next few weeks.