Follow the history and discovery of the USS Indianapolis

Follow a scientific detective story detailing the discovery of the USS Indianapolis wreck site, 18,000 feet below the Philippine Sea, as the historic and heroic story is told Jan. 8, at 9 p.m. on Arizona PBS. The USS Indianapolis sank during World War II was the largest loss of life in U.S. Naval history.

WATCH: USS Indianapolis: The Final Chapter

In the waning days of World War II, the USS Indianapolis delivered the atomic bomb destined for Hiroshima – and sailed off to join the Allied invasion force.

Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, the ship was torpedoed by a Japanese sub in the Philippine Sea and sank within minutes, along with 300 crew members. The 900 remaining survivors were adrift for nearly five days, battling the sun, thirst, sharks and their own fear.

Yet, it is a disaster that owes as much to bureaucratic snafus as it does to enemy action: the Navy lost track of the ship and failed to mount a search. It is only by chance that a passing plane happened to spot the survivors, but only 316 of them are pulled from the sea alive.

The sinking of Indianapolis remains the U.S. Navy’s worst single loss of life at sea. The tragic end of the Indianapolis and the location of its remains were shrouded in mystery for more than seven decades, until an expedition launched by philanthropist Paul G. Allen discovered the ship in August 2017, in some of the deepest waters on the planet.

Reconstruct the ship’s heroic legacy and her dramatic final moments. This scientific detective story details the events that led up to the discovery of the wreck site, combining never-before-seen archival footage and CGI, with the moving accounts of the few remaining survivors, the testimony of historians, and spectacular footage of the well-preserved wreckage found 18,000 feet down. The documentary also tells the story of Capt. Charles Butler McVay III, who survived the sinking of his ship, the only captain in U.S. history convicted for losing his ship during wartime.

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