An expedition has found the remains of a US Navy ship wrecked during World War II 6,500 meters deep off the coast of the Philippines, a team member said on Sunday.
“We have just plunged deepest into history to find the remains of the destroyer USS Johnston,” tweeted Victor Vescovo, founder of the US company Caladan Oceanic, who ran the submarine that located the ship.
During two eight-hour dives in late March, the team was able to film, photograph and study the wreckage in front of Samar Island, said Caladan Oceanic, a company specializing in underwater technologies.
The 115-meter-long destroyer sank on October 25, 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the greatest naval battles in history and which marked the beginning of the end for Japan.
Other explorers located it in the Philippine Sea in 2019, but most of the ship was out of range of any aircraft.
“We located 2/3 of the front of the ship, upright and intact, at a depth of 6,456 m. Three of us, on two dives, examined the vessel and paid tribute to its valiant crew, ”said Vescovo.
Only 141 of the ship’s 327 crew members survived, according to US Navy records.
The expedition found the bow, deck and center section intact. The number 557 was still clearly visible.
Two towers, torpedo reserve points and numerous gun mounts were also visible, according to the expedition.
Parks Stephenson, navigator and expedition historian, pointed out that in the wreckage of the ship it was possible to see the damage he suffered during this intense battle, more than 75 years ago.
“It was fired from the largest warship ever built, the Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Yamato, and fired back fiercely,” Stephenson said.