A timeline of the USS Indianapolis

A timeline of the USS Indianapolis

A brief timeline of events surrounding the sinking of the USS Indianapolis:

July 26, 1945: Navy cruiser USS Indianapolis delivers first atomic bomb to Pacific island of Tinian, is directed to join battleship USS Idaho at Leyte Gulf in Philippines. Indianapolis sails alone.

Just after midnight, July 30, 1945: Midway between Guam and Leyte Gulf, Indianapolis is hit by two torpedoes from Japanese submarine. Ship sinks within minutes. Of almost 1,200 aboard, about 900 make it into the water. Few life rafts were released. Many of those who survive are burned or otherwise wounded. Most also are coated with oil and ingest water mixed with oil as well, causing vomiting that brings dehydration.

Morning, July 30, 1945: Survivors believe they will be picked up quickly, because the ship had been expected to arrive in the Philippines that day.

Afternoon, July 30, 1945: Sharks begin to appear.

Daily: U.S. warplanes fly overhead, too high to see the survivors in the water.

Late morning. Aug. 2, 1945: U.S. pilot on routine anti-submarine patrol spots the survivors by accident. When he radios the sighting, a seaplane is dispatched. Seaplane pilot, flying over the destroyer USS Cecil Doyle, radios the captain, who, on his own authority, decides to divert to the scene. It would be night before any ships arrive. From ussindianapolis.org: "Disregarding the safety of his own vessel, the Doyle's captain pointed his largest searchlight into the night sky to serve as a beacon for other rescue vessels. This beacon was the first indication to most survivors that their prayers had been answered. Help had at last arrived. Of the 900 who made it into the water, only 317 remained alive."

Aug. 6, 1945: U.S. drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Aug. 9, 1945: U.S. drops second atomic bomb, this one on Nagasaki.

Aug. 14, 1945: President Truman announces Japanese surrender. The news overshadows the Navy's announcement, the same day, of the loss of the Indianapolis.

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