Explorers locate deepest-known shipwreck in the world, A WWII-era destroyer

Ship sunk in 1944 after furious battle with Japanese fleet.

Updated: June 25, 2022 - 4:23pm

Deep-sea divers this week announced the discovery of the as-of-yet deepest known shipwreck in the world, a World War II-era destroyer that has been on the ocean floor for nearly 80 years.

Legendary American diver Victor Vescovo this week revealed the location of the USS Destroyer Escort Samuel B. Roberts, a Butler-class ship that foundered during the Battle of Samar in the Philippines Sea in late October 1944. 

The “Sammy B” was among the scant few ships left behind near Samar Island while Admiral William Halsey, Jr., pursued what turned out to be a decoy fleet. The remaining ships subsequently encountered a much larger Japanese fleet that was heading to counteract the U.S. amphibious invasion of Leyte. 

The much smaller American forces managed to inflict enough damage on the Japanese fleet to force it to withdraw. The Sammy B was among nearly half a dozen craft and several aircraft lost in the battle, along with around 1,000 American soldiers. 

The last survivor of the Sammy B died in March of this year. Vescovo called it “a great honor to find [the ship’s] final resting place.”

“I think it helps bring closure to the story of the ship, for the families of those who were lost and those who served on her,” he said. 

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