Long-lost USS Indianapolis found by Paul Allen crew; Seattle survivor's family relieved
SEATTLE - A search team with Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen has discovered the wreckage of the long-lost USS Indianapolis. The ship went missing more than seven decades ago.
Eugene Morgan who lived in West Seattle, survived the sinking but passed away in 2008. His daughter, Mary Larson, said she was numb when she heard the news.
“It's astonishing!” she said. “All of a sudden it’s real. We can see. It's at the bottom of the ocean."
The heavy cruiser was lost at sea for 72 years after being torpedoed by the Japanese in July of 1945.
“That was my dad's home for four years,” said Larson.
The USS Indianapolis sank in only 12 minutes. Of the more than 1,200 crew, only 316 men survived.
Larson's father received the Purple Heart for his injuries from fighting off shark attacks and surviving at sea for days.
“It was no fun to float around in the ocean for four days and five nights. It was really hell,” Morgan wrote in a letter to his family.
For years, what happened was a mystery.
“This was a secret mission because it did carry an Atomic Bomb that was to end the war. And nobody could talk about it,” said Larson.
Paul Allen’s expedition team found the Indy in the Philippine Sea, about 1,800 feet below the surface last week.
“Now we know all the stories about this ship,” said Larson.
Kim Roller has spent a lot of time with the survivors of the USS Indianapolis.
“The youngest just turned 90,” said Roller.
As an Honorary USS Indianapolis Survivor, Roller travels the country.
“I dress in head-to-toe in 1945 vintage apparel, makeup, gloves, hat, and hairdo; I travel around the U.S. and I tell their story,” said Roller.
She said the 19 remaining survivors are overjoyed by the discovery of Paul Allen and his crew.
“Nobody thought it would happen. There have been several expeditions out there. And, he finally made it happen,” said Roller.
“Our men are home. All these men are finally home,” said Larson,
A statement released by Allen stated, "To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role during World War II is truly humbling."