US Navy ship sunk nearly 80 years ago reached in world’s deepest shipwreck dive

Destroyer resting nearly 6.5km below sea level still has gun turrets and torpedo racks in place

The Caladan Oceanic-backed expedition found the bow, bridge, and mid-section intact with the hull number ‘557’ still visible. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

A US Navy destroyer sunk during the second world war and lying nearly 6,500 meters below sea level (21,180ft or 6,456m), off the Philippines has been reached in the world’s deepest shipwreck dive, an American exploration team said.

A crewed submersible filmed, photographed and surveyed the wreckage of the USS Johnston off Samar Island during two eight-hour dives completed late last month, Texas-based undersea technology company Caladan Oceanic said.

The 115-metre-long ship was sunk on 25 October 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf as US forces fought to liberate the Philippines – then a US colony – from Japanese occupation. Its location in the Philippine Sea was discovered in 2019 by another expedition group, but most of the wreckage was beyond the reach of their remotely-operated vehicle.

 Lt. Cmdr. Ernest E. Evans, left of center, speaks at commissioning ceremonies on the fantail of the USS Johnston on Oct. 27, 1943, in Seattle. The destroyer was built by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp. and led by Evans, who became the first Native American in the Navy to receive the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command) 

“We located the front 2/3 of the ship, upright and intact, at a depth of 6456 meters. Three of us across two dives surveyed the vessel and gave respects to her brave crew. Only 141 of the ship’s 327 crew survived, according to US navy records.”

A view of the gunner turret on the U.S.S. Johnston, observed for the first time since the destroyer’s sinking in 1944 during World War II. (Caladan Oceanic / TNS)

Source: The Guardian and Seattle Times and Techno Trenz