Wreckage of WWII ship sunk after 'secret mission' found in Philippine Sea

Posted at 11:57 AM, Aug 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-19 15:05:14-04

(KGTV) - Wreckage from a World War II cruiser has been found 72 years after it was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine during the final days of the war.

Research crews discovered remnants of the USS Indianapolis Friday in the Philippine Sea, sitting 5,500 meters below the ocean's surface.

The ship was sunk on July 30, 1945, while returning from a "secret mission" delivering components for the two nuclear bombs to the island Tinian. Those components were, of course, used for the weapons dropped on Japan.

Of the 1,196 service members on board, 317 survived. Twenty-two of those survivors are still alive today.

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"To be able to honor 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 II is truly humbling," Paul Allen, owner of the Research Vessel Petrel that found the wreckage, said. "...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."

The research team searched 600 square miles of ocean in its latest attempt to locate the naval vessel. Previous attempts have been made, though without the technological developments employed today.

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The US Navy has not released exactly where in the North Pacific Ocean the wreckage was discovered.

"For more than two decades I’ve been working with the survivors. To a man, they have longed for the day when their ship would be found, solving their final mystery," Ret. Capt. William Toti, spokesperson for the survivors of the USS Indianapolis, said. "They all know this is now a war memorial, and are grateful for the respect and dignity that Paul Allen and his team have paid to one of the most tangible manifestations of the pain and sacrifice of our World War II veterans."

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