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‘Deepest shipwreck’: Vessel sunk during 1944 Battle of Leyte

Another US World War II ship found off Samar

/ 05:45 AM June 26, 2022
Undated photos received on June 25 from the Caladan Oceanic and EYOS expeditions show the wreck of US Navy destroyer USS Samuel B. Roberts. STORY: Another US World War II ship found off Samar

DEPTHS OF HISTORY | Undated photos received on June 25 from the Caladan Oceanic and EYOS expeditions show the wreck of US Navy destroyer USS Samuel B. Roberts, known colloquially as “Sammy B,” after it was discovered off Samar Island. (AFP/NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE US NAVY PHOTO)

MANILA — A US Navy destroyer sunk during World War II has been found nearly 7,000 meters below sea level off the Philippines, making it the world’s deepest shipwreck ever located, an American exploration team said.

The USS Samuel B Roberts went down during a battle off the central island of Samar on Oct. 25, 1944, as US forces fought to liberate the Philippines — then a US colony — from Japanese occupation.

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‘Sammy B’

A crewed submersible filmed, photographed, and surveyed the battered hull of the “Sammy B” during a series of dives over eight days this month, Texas-based undersea technology company Caladan Oceanic said.

Images showed the ship’s three-tube torpedo launcher and gun mount.

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“Resting at 6,895 meters, it is now the deepest shipwreck ever located and surveyed,” tweeted Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, who piloted the submersible.

“This small ship took on the finest of the Japanese Navy, fighting them to the end,” he said.

According to US Navy records, Sammy B’s crew “floated for nearly three days awaiting rescue, with many survivors perishing from wounds and shark attacks.” Of the 224 crew, 89 died.

The battle was part of the larger Battle of Leyte, which saw intense fighting over several days between US and Japanese forces.

Sammy B was one of four US ships sunk in the Oct. 25 engagement.

The USS Johnston, which at nearly 6,500 m was previously the world’s deepest shipwreck identified, was reached by Vescovo’s team in 2021.

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In the latest search, the team also looked for the USS Gambier Bay at more than 7,000 masl, but was unable to locate it.

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It did not search for the USS Hoel due to the lack of reliable data showing where it may have gone down.

The wreck of the Titanic lies in about 4,000 m of water.

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TAGS: Caladan Oceanic, USS Samuel B Roberts, World War II ships
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