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Explorers have found the world’s deepest shipwreck, 78 years after it sunk to the bottom of the ocean during World War 2.
The USS Samuel B. Roberts was located at a depth of 22,621 feet (more than four miles) in the Philippine Sea by adventurer Victor Vescovo on June 22.
The destroyer escort was hit by Japanese naval fire during the Battle off Samar in October 1944, with 90 of the 210 crew perishing as the ship went down. The 120 survivors clung to life rafts for 50 hours before eventually being rescued.
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The location of the shipwreck has bewildered hunters for decades, but now the retired American naval officer has finally clapped eyes on it, producing some stunning video footage.
Vescovo had found the previous deepest wreck last year, the USS Johnston at 21,223ft, but this one is 1,500ft deeper.
He piloted the vessel that dove down into the murky depths, along with sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet, to trace the wreck from end to end.
After making six trips in eight days, they finally found the ship split in two on their final day of searching – after locating debris from the three-tube torpedo launcher – with the two halves around 33ft from each other.
Vescovo said: “It was an extraordinary honour to locate this incredibly famous ship, and by doing so have the chance to retell her story of heroism and duty to those who may not know of the ship and her crew’s sacrifice.
“It appears her bow hit the seafloor with some force, causing some buckling. Her stern also separated about five metres on impact, but the whole wreck was together.”
He told CNN that he wasn’t sure their trip would prove successful, finding the wreck on the final dive of their mission.
“The ‘Sammy B’ is a small vessel as military ships go, and we weren’t really sure that we could find her in the vast and extremely deep ocean,” he revealed.
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“But with perseverance, some great historical analysis, and a whole lot of technology and hard work, we were able to find her and provide a great opportunity to tell her amazing story.
“It is such an immense privilege to be the first person to see them after they went down in battle almost 80 years ago.”
Kelvin Murray, expedition leader and director of expedition operations and undersea projects for EYOS said: “There's been an incredible effort by the whole team – the ship's crew, sub team, historians and other specialists. Using a combination of detective work and innovative technology, everyone has pulled together to reveal the final resting place of this ship.
“We are all proud of what has been achieved.”
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- World War 2
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