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explorer Victor Vescovo find deepest wreck

The USS Samuel B Roberts was found at a depth of 22,621 feet. Photo: Caladan Oceanic

The Inertia

On June 22, a 306-foot destroyer escort called the USS Samuel B Roberts — known also as the Sammy B — was finally found. Where it was found makes it the deepest shipwreck ever discovered. At a depth of 22,621 feet, the vessel was found in the Philippine Sea.

The ship sank in October of 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. A particular battle of that larger battle was the Battle off Samar, which was one of the largest naval battles in history. An Imperial Japanese Navy flotilla proved to be the final undoing of the Samuel B Roberts.

The wreck was discovered by Victor Vescovo, a millionaire explorer who is, to say the least, an interesting man. Vescovo, along with a sonar expert named Jeremie Morizet, knew the general area where the ship went down, but until now, its exact whereabouts have remained lost to the deep sea. Eighty-nine souls went down with the ship.

Vescovo and a team from EYOS Expeditions used submersible vehicles and ships that shoot sonar down to the seafloor to find it. Over the course of six dives from June 17 to June 24, they managed to pinpoint the wreckage. The Sammy B had a unique set of torpedo tubes that enabled the crew to positively identify it. The first inkling came on June 18, and during the next few dives, the crew was able to find the entire wreck, which had snapped into two pieces on the way down.

Prior to the Sammy B, the deepest wreck ever found was the the USS Johnston, which was also dicovered by Vescovo at 1,398 feet.

“It was an extraordinary honor 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,” Vescovo said in a statement sent to IFLScience. “I always remain in awe of the extraordinary bravery of those who fought in this battle against truly overwhelming odds – and won.”


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