The wreck of the USS Indianapolis, sunk during the Second World War, was found by a team of civilian researchers

The remains of the infamous American cruiser, sunk in the twilight of the Second World War, have just been found by a civilian team led by Paul Allen.

During the night of July 29-30, 1945, when the deadliest conflict in human history is about to come to an end, the Japanese submarine I-85 crosses the road of USS Indianapolis. The American cruiser, embarking 1,197 soldiers, returns from the island of Tinian (located in the Mariana archipelago, Pacific Ocean), after completing a mission as secret as crucial, and heading towards the island of Leyte. He was in charge of delivering uranium-235 as well as several components for Little Boy, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima a week later.

The commander of the Japanese submarine decides to intercept the ship and sends two torpedoes. During the explosion, the Indianapolis broke in two, then sank twelve minutes later. 300 sailors sink with the ship. The ordeal begins for the 880 survivors who will face dehydration, hypothermia and shark attacks. Four days later, when relief came, only 317 soldiers had survived. It is, to date, the most deadly shipwreck in the history of the American Navy.

A historical treasure

72 years later, a 13-person research team led by Paul Allen, a billionaire philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, managed to find out exactly where the USS Indianapolis sank. Following research by Dr. Richard Pulver, a member of the US Naval History & Heritage Command for the preservation of US naval history, researchers discovered that an area of ​​1,550 km² The wreck of the Indianapolis rested more than 5,500 meters deep. To locate the remains of the ship, the researchers relied on the cream of the cream of the underwater technology. Used by the Petrel research vessel, this underwater equipment is capable of reaching a depth of 6,000 meters.

"The Petrel, its capabilities, the technology it embarks and our research are the result of years of dedication and hard work" said Robert Kraft, director of underwater operations , To the Navy.

• Read also: But by the way, how did the planes of the First World War to fire with the machine gun without destroying the propeller?

A wreck well preserved but will remain at the bottom of the water

The good surprise for the research team is the state of conservation of the wreck after more than 70 years at the bottom of the ocean. As evidenced by the photos shared by Paul Allen on his Twitter account.

Regarding the future of the USS Indianapolis, the US Navy was clear. If Allen's team is currently mapping the area of ​​the sinking, it must treat the site as a protected area and must not physically intervene at the request of the 22 surviving seamen and the families of the victims. the wreck.