A team of researchers led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen located the lost wreckage of the World War II Navy cruiser the USS Indianapolis on Aug. 18, and now television viewers will get to take a live tour of the sunken vessel in a PBS special on Wednesday.
The ship, which is famous for delivering components for one of the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan, was sunk by Japanese submarine torpedoes on July 30, 1945. It sank in 12 minutes and came to rest 5,500 meters down in the Philippine Sea. Of the 1,196 sailors and Marines on board, only 316 survived in the greatest loss of life at sea from a single ship in U.S. Navy history.
Allen’s 16-person crew, using the 250-foot research vessel Petrel, which is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment including a remotely operated vehicle with attached HD cameras, located and helped identify the Indianapolis.
Allen previously said that it was “truly humbling” to be able to honor the brave men from the Fifth Fleet’s naval flagship through the discovery of the wreckage.
The hour-long TV special, “USS Indianapolis Live – From the Deep,” will allow viewers to see parts of what Allen’s team has located via video and images transmitted by the remote vehicle. Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Allen’s Vulcan Inc., will narrate the special from the Petrel, while journalist Miles O’Brien will serve as host for PBS from a New York studio, along with military experts and scientists providing insight.
“The fact that the mystery has been solved and the wreckage of the USS Indianapolis has been found after 72 years is amazing,” said Beth Hoppe, chief programming executive at PBS. “Equally amazing is that the video feed from the ROV will allow PBS viewers to see what the expedition crew sees three miles below on the ocean floor. The use of this technology powerfully connects us to what happened in 1945, allowing us to reflect on the sacrifice of the hundreds of men who lost their lives in the defense of our nation.”
The exploration is being produced by Vulcan along with Miles O’Brien Productions for PBS and Peacock Productions.