Divers Reach Deepest Shipwreck Ever — This World War II Destroyer

A mission reaches what remains of the USS Johnston

USS Johnston
The USS Johnston in 1943.
US Navy

In October 1944, the USS Johnston sunk during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, between American and Japanese forces in the Philippines. Since then, the wreckage of the ship has been situated roughly 21,000 feet below sea level. In 2019, the exact location of the wreckage was discovered, but the vehicle that found it was unable to reach what remained of the ship.

Now, however, the Johnston has been reached in a dive that was historic in more ways than one. At The Guardian, a new report describes the efforts of Caladan Oceanic to reach the vessel via a crewed vessel – the “deepest wreck dive in history,” as Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo phrased it.

As The Guardian‘s article notes, this achievement is a bittersweet one: out of the crew of 327 on board the Johnston, only 141 survived the battle. The Caladan Oceanic team plans to hand the data they recorded about the shipwreck to the US Navy.

According to navigator Parks Stephenson, evidence of its last battle could still be seen on what remains of the Johnston. “It took fire from the largest warship ever constructed – the imperial Japanese navy battleship Yamato, and ferociously fought back,” Stephenson said. And with this recent mission, there’s a certain sense of closure to be had for this vessel.

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