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

MANILA, Philippines — The Sammy B has been found.

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The wreckage of the USS Samuel B. Roberts, a U.S. Navy destroyer escort that sank in the western Pacific Ocean during World War II nearly 78 years ago, was found on Wednesday near the Philippines, The Washington Post reported.

The “Sammy B” was found in two pieces about 4 miles beneath the surface of the Pacific by explorer Victor Vescovo, according to the newspaper. The vessel was located on a slope at a depth of 22,916 feet, according to The Associated Press. That puts the vessel 1,400 feet deeper than the USS Johnston, which held the previous depth record. That was also discovered near the Philippines in March 2021 by Vescovo, the founder of Caladan Oceanic Expeditions in Dallas.

Vescovo has also surveyed the USS Johnston and has made three dives to the Titanic, the Post reported.

He announced the latest discovery in conjunction with EYOS Expeditions, a British-based company, the AP reported.

“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, a former Navy commander, said in a statement.

The USS Samuel B. Roberts sank during a battle off the Philippines’ central island of Samar on Oct. 25, 1944, CBS News reported. The vessel had engaged the Japanese fleet as U.S. forces worked to liberate the Philippines, which was then a U.S. territory, from occupation. The skirmish was the final engagement of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Post reported.

Eighty-nine of its 224 crew members were killed, according to the newspaper.

“This site is a hallowed war grave,” retired Rear Adm. Sam Cox, head of the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, told the Post.

The Sammy B was hit by a Japanese battleship and sank, along with the USS Johnston, according to the newspaper.

The wreck was filmed, photographed and surveyed during six dives over eight days beginning June 17, Caladan Oceanic said.

“Using a combination of detective work and innovative technology, everyone has pulled together to reveal the final resting place of this tenacious ship,” expedition leader Kelvin Murray of EYOS said in a statement. “It’s been a challenging, thrilling and poignant expedition. We are all proud of what has been achieved and humbled by what we witnessed.”

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