No Longer Lost

World War II ship found below Pacific surface


Wikimedia Commons

Emily Schoen, Editor-in-Chief

The USS Indianapolis is found 18,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific 72 years after it sunk to the bottom of the sea.

Before the attack on July 30, 1945, the Indianapolis just completed a secret mission delivering components of the atomic bomb used in the attack on Hiroshima that brought an end to the war in the Pacific Ocean. The Indianapolis sank in approximately 12 minutes, which made it impossible to send out a distress signal or deploy the necessary life-saving equipment.

Most of the ship’s 1,196 sailors and marines survived the sinking, only to succumb to exposure, dehydration, drowning and shark attacks. The US Navy accounts for the survival of only 316 men. There are currently 22 of those survivors still living today. A team of civilian researchers, led by Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen discovered the wreckage. The expedition crew of Allen’s research vessel, a 250 foot vessel capable of diving 3.5 mile, located the remnants. a 250 foot vessel capable of diving 3.5 miles. Upon requirement, the 13 person team will continue to search the area for wargraves.

“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 in ending World War II is truly humbling,” Allen said.

Prior to the discovery, others tried to locate the wreckage before, but were unsuccessful. In 2016, research surfaced that led to a new search area to the west of an original presumed position. This prompted the crew to search and discover the wreckage. Michael William Emery, named after his uncle William Friend Emery, who perished during the sinking, said that he was surprised the wreckage had been found.

“I am filled with so much emotion. Part of me wanted the Indy to be found. Part of me did not want it to be found,” said Emery. “After 72 years the Indy might’ve finally been found, but I’m still lost in a sea of tears.” As a child, Emery had nightmares about attempting to rescue William Friend Emery off of his ship. They still affect him today. “Memories of nightmares I had as a child, trying rescue my uncle and namesake William Friend Emery off of his ship are overwhelming me now,” said Emery in an interview with Sara Vladic, a spokesperson for a network of survivors. Families of the men on the Indianapolis finally receive closure with the discovery.