Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Deepest wreck dive’ reaches US WWII ship off Philippines



‘Deepest wreck dive’ reaches US WWII ship off Philippines

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The main wreckage of the USS Johnston (DD-557), a US Navy Fletcher-class destroyer that sank during the Battle of Samar in World War II, rests on the ocean floor off Samar Island in the Philippines at a depth of nearly 6,500m, the deepest shipwreck ever recorded. CALADAN OCEANIC/AFP

‘Deepest wreck dive’ reaches US WWII ship off Philippines

A US navy destroyer sunk during World War II and lying nearly 6,500m below sea level off the Philippines has been reached in the world’s deepest shipwreck dive, a US 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 LLC said.

The 115m-long ship was sunk on October 25, 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.

“Just completed the deepest wreck dive in history, to find the main wreckage of the destroyer USS Johnston,” tweeted Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, who piloted the submersible.

“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.

The Caladan Oceanic-backed expedition found the bow, bridge and mid-section intact with the hull number “557” still visible.

Two full five-inch gun turrets, twin torpedo racks and multiple gun mounts remain in place, it said.

Team navigator and historian Parks Stephenson said the wreck bore the damage inflicted during the intense surface battle 76 years ago.

He said: “It took fire from the largest warship ever constructed – the Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Yamato, and ferociously fought back.”

Sonar data, imagery and field notes collected during the dives would be turned over to the US Navy, Vescovo said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They