Explorers have found the deepest shipwreck ever identified, an escort of a US naval destroyer sunk during World War II.
The USS Samuel B Roberts crashed during the Battle of Samar in the Philippine Sea in October 1944. It lies 6,895 meters (22,621 feet) of water.
Texan financier and adventurer Victor Vescovo, who owns a deep-diving submarine, discovered the “Sammy B” battered but largely intact.
The ship is known for a heroic final score against the Japanese.
It was outnumbered and had a better chance of restraining and frustrating several enemy ships before finally sinking.
Of the 224 crew of the Samuel B Roberts, 89 were killed. The 120 survivors clung to life rafts for 50 hours awaiting rescue.
Mr. Vescovo, a naval reservist at the time, said it was an extraordinary honor to locate the lost ship and have the opportunity to recount his amazing story of heroism and duty.
“We like to say that steel doesn’t lie and that the wrecks of these ships are the last witnesses to the fighting they fought,” he told BBC News.
“The Sammy B attacked the Japanese heavy cruisers, firing so quickly that its ammunition was exhausted; it amounted to firing smoke grenades and lighting rounds to try and set the Japanese ships on fire, and it continued firing. It was just an extraordinary act.” of heroism. Those men – on both sides – fought to the death.”
In the images captured by the adventurer’s submarine, the limiting factor, it is possible to see the hull structure, guns and torpedo tubes.
The Sammy B has holes from Japanese grenades and there is evidence in the stern of a massive blow.
From its crumpled appearance, it appears that the ship hit the bow of the seabed first.
To give you an idea of how deep the roost is, 98% of the ocean floor is less than 6,000 feet deep. Only the great tectonic trenches are even deeper.
The Battle of Samar has been described as one of the greatest naval battles in history. A savage battle, it eventually saw a badly disturbed Imperial Japanese Navy withdraw its forces.
Several ships from both sides were lost in the depths.
Last year, Mr. Vescovo managed to find the destroyer USS Johnston at a depth of 6,460 m (21,180 ft).
It is possible that there are others that are even deeper than the Sammy B or the Johnston.
“There are two other American ships yet to be found – the USS Gambier Bay (escort carrier) and the USS Hoel (destroyer),” said Kelvin Murray of EYOS, the company that organized and led Mr. Vescovo’s expedition.
“We have historical records of where they sank. We did look at Gambier Bay, but this is detective work and this kind of deep sea operation has never been done before. I don’t want to use the phrase ‘needle in a haystack’, because there A lot more research is needed to make that haystack smaller, but there’s still a certain amount of luck involved.”
Mr. Vescovo was the first person to visit the deepest points in the Earth’s five oceans.
He has also climbed the highest peaks of each of the seven continents; and most recently, he went into space on New Shepard, the rocket and capsule system developed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.