USS Indianapolis Live

(Pictured above: One of the five-inch, 25-caliber anti-aircraft gun mounts from the USS Indianapolis, courtesy of Paul G. Allen)

The wreckage of the USS Indianapolis, a flagship Navy cruiser sunk in 1945 and found this August, will be explored live tomorrow night, September 13, from 10-11 pm ET on, and the PBS Facebook page, as well as on PBS TV stations.

Torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the final days of World War II, the USS Indianapolis went down in just 12 minutes – with only some 300 of its nearly 1200 sailors and marines surviving. The incident still represents the greatest loss of life at sea from a single ship US Navy history.

The research vessel R/V Petrel, owned by Microsoft co-founder/philanthropist Paul Allen, found the ship three miles deep in the Philippine Sea and then positively identified it through analysis of wreckage and markings.

Video of tomorrow’s live tour of the wreckage, titled USS Indianapolis Live — From the Deep, will be transmitted from a remotely operated vehicle. PBS Newshour science correspondent Miles O’Brien will host from a New York studio. Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Allen’s Vulcan Productions, will provide narration from the R/V Petrel. William Toti, a retired US Navy captain who was the final commanding officer of the destroyed ship’s namesake submarine USS Indianapolis, will provide commentary.

Nineteen survivors of the USS Indianapolis are still alive, and the R/V Petrel crew has been collaborating with Navy authorities and others on plans to honor them plus the families of all the ship’s other crew members.

If you want to learn more about the USS Indianapolis, here’s a documentary:

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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