A US Navy destroyer sunk during World War II has been found nearly 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) below sea level off the Philippines, making it the world’s deepest shipwreck ever found, a US reconnaissance team said.
The USS Samuel B Roberts crashed during a battle off the central island of Samar on October 25, 1944 as US forces fought to liberate the Philippines, then an American colony from Japanese occupation.
A manned submarine filmed, photographed and examined the battered hull of the “Sammy B” during a series of dives this month over eight days, Texas-based submarine tech company Caladan Oceanic said.
Images showed the ship’s three-tube torpedo launcher and the gun mount.
“Located at 6,895 meters, it is now the deepest shipwreck ever located and explored,” tweeted Victor Vescovo, the founder of Caladan Oceanic, which piloted the submarine.
“This little ship took on the best of the Japanese Navy and fought them to the end,” he said.
According to US Navy records, Sammy B’s crew drifted “for nearly three days awaiting rescue, with many survivors dying from wounds and shark attacks”. Of the 224 crew members, 89 were killed.
The battle was part of the larger Battle of Leyte, which saw heavy fighting between the American and Japanese forces over several days.
Sammy B was one of four American ships sunk on October 25.
The USS Johnston, which at almost 6,500 meters was the deepest shipwreck in the world, was reached by Vescovo’s team in 2021.
In the latest search, the team also looked for the USS Gambier Bay more than 7,000 meters below sea level, but could not find it.
It has not searched for the USS Hoel due to the lack of reliable data showing where it may have crashed.
The wreckage of the Titanic lies in approximately 4,000 meters of water.
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