Explorers find USS Samuel B. Roberts, world’s deepest shipwreck

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The wreckage of the World War II U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Samuel B. Roberts, was found off the coast of the Philippines.

American Explorer Victor Vescovo, founder and sub pilot of the Dallas-based Caldan Oceanic Expeditions, identified the wreckage alongside Britain-based EYOS Expeditions, and announced on Twitter that the wreckage lies at a depth of about 4 miles, making it “the deepest shipwreck ever located and surveyed.”

“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.

The wreckage of the ship, also known as the Sammy B.,has broken into two pieces, resting about 33 feet away from each other.

“It appears her bow hit the seafloor with some force, causing some buckling. Her stern also separated about 5 meters on impact, but the whole wreck was together,” Vescovo said. “This small ship took on the finest of the Japanese Navy, fighting them to the end.”

Vescovo and a team from EYOS made six dives over the course of eight days in search of the ship.

They initially located debris from the Sammy B. including a three-tube torpedo launcher before locating the wreck on the final day.

“It is unbelievably thrilling to find a deep wreck on the bottom of the deep ocean, given all the difficulties in trying to find them,” Vescovo said. “It is such an immense privilege to be the first person to see them after they went down in battle almost 80 years ago.”

The ship sank in the Battle off Samar, on Oct. 25, 1944, where the U.S. Navy defeated a Japanese fleet consisting of three Japanese battleships, including the Yamato, said to be the largest Japanese battleship ever constructed.

Vescovo said he believes finding wrecks from these historic battles can help “bring closure and also bring details about the battle” that may not have been known before.

“The heroism of her captain and crew is legendary in the Navy, and it was a great honor to find her final resting place,” he said. “I think it helps bring closure to the story of the ship, for the families of those who were lost and those who served on her. I think that having a ship vanish into these depths, never to be seen again, can leave those affiliated with the ship feeling a sense of emptiness.”

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