She lies seven kilometers under the sea, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, cut in two, and stuck on a slope, ready to dive lower. A wreck was discovered on Wednesday by a team of American explorers at depths never recorded before.
It would be the USS Destroyer Escort Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413), known as “Sammy B”. The carcass was identified by Victor Vescovo, a wealthy American explorer, sometimes dubbed the Elon Musk of the seabed, who once led expeditions to the deepest points of the world.
“Finding wreckage on the bottom of the ocean is incredibly exciting, given all the difficulties in finding them. It’s a huge privilege to be the first person to see them after they sank in battle nearly 80 years ago,” the explorer told CNN.
Sammy B lies at a depth of 6,895m, in the Philippine Sea. At this depth, the pressure is such that it is impossible to survive. Previously, the deepest wreck ever identified and studied was the USS Johnston, discovered last year by Vescovo at 6,469m.
A fight against three Japanese battleships
The Sammy B. sank in the Battle of Samar on Oct. 25, 1944, in which the U.S. Navy defeated the Japanese Grand Fleet, east of the island of Samar in the Philippines, CNN reports. The ship would have fought against three Japanese battleships, including the Yamato, reputed to be the largest ever built.
VIDEO. Victor Vescovo, the millionaire who breaks depth records with his submarine
The American ship was carrying 224 crew members, 89 of whom were killed. The ship “fought fiercely even though completely outclassed by the Japanese battleships and heavy cruisers it faced,” Vescovo told CNN.
Victor Vesco took care to tell his journey, almost day by day on Twitter. To approach the carcass, Victor Vescovo first located a torpedo launcher specific to this type of ship. Then he piloted a submersible, accompanied by sonar specialist Jérémie Morizet. The machine, capable of withstanding strong pressures, made it possible to film the wreckage from end to end.
Victor Vescovo and his team had to dive 6 times to complete their research. Among other things, the explorers were helped by a “customized side-scan solar system”. The Sammy B. might not be the deepest wreck for too long. The group thinks that its new “Deep Ocean Search” lateral sonar will make it possible to analyze the seabed for good, at a depth of 11 kilometers, where they were limited to 6 before.