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Deepest shipwreck found by Vulcan's R/V Petrel

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The late Paul Allen's deep-sea research team discusses the finding of a WWII Fletcher class destroyer at a record depth of 20,400 feet. The ship is believed to be the USS Johnston DD-557, lost at the Battle off Samar in October 1944.
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Keith Carter (30 days ago)
Any ship sinking into waters that deep would have been shredded and twisted by the pressure of the water depth in any case.
M.J. Leger (30 days ago)
The oceans and seas cover about 3/4ths of our Planet Earth, and so far, less than .05% of them have been charted, but with advanced scientific sonar and other technology today, we are discovering more and more about what is below the surface of all that water! We send robots and cameras down there, and are learning the fate of vessels long beyond our memory! RIP to all those brave souls who were lost along with those ships. I hope as we discover more and more, we treat those areas with the respect due those lost at sea!
Felix Cat (1 month ago)
The forces that could literally rip such a large, strongly constructed vessel apart in this way are phenomenal! The visual clarity is hugely impressive, and it's a shame that there is nothing but a shattered debris field left of this mighty warship!
nemisthis (1 month ago)
20 plus thousand feet deep . clear as can be. but a store robbery video. distorted to hide what ?
Fam Bam (1 month ago)
If they can find ships with all that awesome equipment. Why haven’t they found the wreckage of the plane that suppose to have crashed in the ocean.
Craig Evan (1 month ago)
Amazing to see this wreckage of either “GQ Johnston” (general quarters) or the Hoel. Tin can fighting ships crewed by iron men!🇺🇸
Maureen Whalen (15 days ago)
My name is James I was on the EF Larson when the Frank Evans was sunk by the HMS Melbourne. Why don’t you get pictures of front half of Evans resting place in the South China Sea ?
GEORGE ELLIS (1 month ago)
My Uncle WILLIAM N. ELLIS died in the after- engine room when the first 18 inch Japanese shell hit DD557 GQ-JOHNNY... HOLLYWOOD needs to make a movie about the TIN-CAN SAILORS of SAMAR taking on the entire Japanese Navy! RIP UNCLE BILL! I have read and researched much...I have all his naval metals ..he is our family hero....this footage is a great blessing. THANK YOU ! George J. Ellis, Toledo Ohio.
David Morgan (1 month ago)
Has anyone else heard a sound track on this video ? kind of eerie.
craig palmer (1 month ago)
how fast was it going when it hit bottom? to the crew well done, you did good !
Scribe of Alara (1 month ago)
9:30 That is a double ended Hydraulic piston that was separated in the middle. They should be horizontal. It matches the description of the steering gear found here:
Fabian Tarantino (1 month ago)
That's some insane depth. That poor ship took a real beating before it went down.
Phil Elsner (1 month ago)
fair winds and following seas to the brave men of the uss johnston uss 557,and its gallant captain ernie evans.
Hans Etter (1 month ago)
Sam Stewart (1 month ago)
Are any of the surviving crew still alive?
charlotte mace (1 month ago)
Eddy Bowe (1 month ago)
As a Veteran of the United States Navy thank you for your efforts to find and document these ships lost during the battle. May the crew of these Ships Rest in Peace now. again thank you so very much for your efforts.
Yoshi (1 month ago)
Very very interesting. R i p to those that died on the ship. Really shows how devastating the war really was. To have a ship completely blown to smithereens, really sends shivers down my spine.
Bill L (1 month ago)
Amazing images.  Thank you for sharing
Len Pytlewski (1 month ago)
At 19:16, looks like the bridge
P.E.O. (1 month ago)
Why is that poor ship so ripped appart? Did it Explode or is it Crushed by the depth? The Part you came along at 9:29 could be part of the Aiming Seat of a Gun Turret.
DrunkSlav (1 month ago)
also the Johnston received huge amounts of damage before sinking, she was fighting battleships and heavy cruisers and got hit by big shells this and the deep of the shipwreck may be the cause of the bad conditions of the shipwreck
101327 (1 month ago)
likely implosion, and exploding magazines as well as pieces of the ship damaged and weakened by enemy gunfire.
john sepulveda (1 month ago)
rip to the sailers that lost their lives on this ship
Matthew Hahn (1 month ago)
Broken wreck
Rob Bleeker (2 months ago)
That large piece you found at 9:53. This looks a bit like a piece out of the engine room.. The holes are definitely not port-holes or windows because I doubt they would place those so close to each other..Also the evidence of machinery, I also doubt that they would be place machinery behind port-holes My first reaction would be...The steel with the holes makes part of the structure that makes the keel of bottom of the ship. I do not know about naval ships but in my study I did learn that ships have quite often the oil tank in the bottom of the ship.. The holes could indicate such structure, they are there for a connecting flow between area's where the oil would flow between..Whatever it is, it is most definitely structural inside the ship and not external with windows, so no glass... :-)
101327 (1 month ago)
that section is from a machinery space in the bottom of the ship.
RW4X4X3006 (2 months ago)
We know the USS Johnston was damaged badly during the fight - But would the extreme depth be the cause of what we see here?
Jacob w (1 month ago)
Some yes.. but it was also reportedly hit by a couple 14" shells. That is like hitting a destroyer.. with a corvette at 200 miles per hour.
Nick Smith (2 months ago)
If anyone doesn’t know why the johnston is important, the ship faced off against some of the largest battleships in the world and was destroyed while defending a small fleet called taffy 3
Zaphod Beeblebrox (2 months ago)
So is the total devastation of this ship caused by the magazine being hit & detonating or catastrophic implosion as the ship sank?
1884 Breitling (2 months ago)
It is believed that the main hull slid further down yet to be found..
michael desroches (2 months ago)
I belive that all ammunition onboard was actually expended before it went down?
Poppys Bench (2 months ago)
Looks more like a magazine explosion than implosion from pressure
A G (2 months ago)
Refreshing to hear mounts, rather than turrets.
A G (1 month ago)
@mason johnson 5" guns were in mounts, as were 20 and 40 mm...they were mounted on a ship. A turret sets on a barbette, which sets on a foundation.
mason johnson (1 month ago)
iamrichrocker (2 months ago)
i just read the wiki account..and am stunned and amazed at the bravery of the Captain and His fine courageous that the Japanese saluted Her as she rolled over and sunk..take a look and you ,too, will be amazed and a silent salute to all that lived and perished in this Hell of a War..Brave Men all..
Restless Classic (2 months ago)
Imploding most likely destroyed most of the structure..
Mr Paul Grimm (2 months ago)
Where’s the ship? Deep in the trench ?
mpetersen6 (1 month ago)
If there's anything that closely resembles a ship. Yah, it most likely is. The deepest shipwrecks not yet found are most likely in the Marianas Trench. The deepest in the Atlantic are likely in the Puerto Rico Trench. In an earlier post somebody speculated that the Johnson's depth charges may have detonated. If they did they would of shredded the back of the ship. But heading into a gun fight I think that the captain would of ordered them rolled off the ship. Just think what would happen if a 6 or 8 inch shell hit them.
David Well (2 months ago)
The USS Edsall really was an brave ship and crew that few people know about from WW2.
David Well (30 days ago)
@M1903A1 Yes, plus 18 Army pilots onboard that were suppose to pick up P40 fighters in Indonesia. Terrible loss
M1903A1 (30 days ago)
Lost with all hands in the Java Sea, correct?
Condor Boss (2 months ago)
I only recently learned of Taffy 3. Those were brave men. From Wikipedia: "From Johnston's complement of 327 officers and men, only 141 were saved. Of the 186 men lost, about 50 were killed by enemy action, 45 died later on rafts from wounds, and 92 men—including Cmdr. Evans—got off before she sank, but were never seen again."
David Young (2 months ago)
They need to locate the wreck of the General Belgrano
M1903A1 (30 days ago)
It's been tried at least once so far.
fabfabby (2 months ago)
I'm almost positive the piece shown from 9:25 to 10:24 is part of the steering. Specifically from from Compartment 206E. I do not think what many have been calling windows or portholes are actually that. If you look at both round and square bridge Fletcher's, only the bridge has external openings that look even remotely like this. But they are round on both types of bridge. These are not, and as you can see around the 10:14 mark, they are not all the same size. The only two places I can find on a Fletcher that has a feature like that is in Compartment C-3H-A, the Chemical Warfare Material Well, which is located directly under the Steering Gear Room as can be seen on this diagram: As well as some structure in the Void space located under Compartment 301-H, the 5" Handling Room & Projectile Stowage for the #4 5" mount, but that room should not have a feature like the bent object on this piece.
Scribe of Alara (1 month ago)
I immediately thought it was steering gear just from the shape and size of it. Those are large hydraulic pistons of some sort, and the only place on a ship you usually see those are steering gear. I'm not familiar with the Fletcher and I couldn't find any pics, but those pistons look like they together are half of a double piston "Ram Type" steering gear. The fletcher did use a double piston, according to this source:
Michael Cuff (2 months ago)
From what Ive read and seen and heard the Johnston took alot of hits. But seeing it, that poor ship got shredded. Not much left. Rest in peace brave men.
M1903A1 (30 days ago)
@John Emerson Wouldn't such surfaces be rusted, though, from the fire? Or at least show heat discoloration where the paint was gone?
Richard Cline (1 month ago)
@RESPONDSTAT 1000, many that died after the Johnston sank were victims of bungling Navy brass in the decision NOT to send ships back to rescue the crews of the sunken US Naval vessels. Sadly, this same bungling STUPIDITY was to be repeated when the USS Indianapolis was sunk. Nobody was paying any attention to the fact that the Indy was overdue or even to where she was supposed to be. Had it not been for a Navy PBY the entire crew of the Indy would probably been lost. Our Navy brass of that era has some major blood on their hands.
John Emerson (1 month ago)
The narrative kept talking about dazzle paint. Most of the history narratives say that the Johnson was burning fiercely from stem to stern. That my be why there is little or no evidence of dazzle paint.
556user (2 months ago)
She gave better than she got.
RESPONDSTAT 1000 (2 months ago)
Of the crew of 327, only 141 survived. Of the 186 lost, about 50 were killed by enemy action, 45 died on rafts from battle injuries and 92, including Evans, were alive in the water after Johnston sank, but were never heard from again. RIP brave sailors 🙏
MadSpartan98 (2 months ago)
Jesus Christ, the pressure at this depth must be completely off the scale, well the USS Johnston never did things halfway so it’s fitting that she became deepest shipwreck found so far!
MadSpartan98 (1 month ago)
Steve Holmes Jesus Christ, that’s fucking crazy!
Steve Holmes (1 month ago)
I should imagine at 6.2 kilometres depth the crushing weight would be around 7000 pounds per square inch i did watch a programme on bob Ballards discovery of the Bismarck and that figure was suggested but i am really not sure but to prove it they fitted a tin can to the ROV and below 5000 feet it was crushed to a fraction of it original size
holden frattin (2 months ago)
9:54, I think that’s the bridge of the Johnston. She had a bunch of little port holes in her bridge window, not certain, but I’m guessing
tcalcut (2 months ago)
I'm assuming the Japanese used a gun bigger than just a 20mm to do this kind of damage...!!!
tcalcut (22 days ago)
@Shannon Rhoads 10-4
Shannon Rhoads (22 days ago)
You would be right! To paraphrase Loki and Iron Man, they had a whole fleet, and we had a Johnston.
Sarararieloy (2 months ago)
Seems to be insufficient mass to be more than what was blown off or fell off the ship as it sank. There has to be a large part or many more small parts still to be discovered. Awesome work you are all doing. Would love to volunteer to help, as it would be a dream job to help find/catalog these great wrecks.
Shannon Rhoads (22 days ago)
I think the skid marks in the mud they mentioned were probably from the mass of the main hull, which would have slid over the edge of the trench over time. So, the rest is way, way further down.
ItsVash (2 months ago)
The Fletcher blueprints can be found at the DD629 Abbot memorial website.
Mike44460 (2 months ago)
Very interesting, thank you the detail.
MICHAEL DAVIDSON (2 months ago)
The section of wreckage with the round windows is likely the pilot house where the ship was controlled from.
XxWALHALAxX MOZZA (1 month ago)
101327 yeah I’ve since seen another video of someone converting a tug to dredge for gold, they removed the engine complete with its mounting chassis which had port hole type access holes and looked very similar
101327 (1 month ago)
thats from a machinery space in the bottom of the ship.
XxWALHALAxX MOZZA (2 months ago)
MICHAEL DAVIDSON isn’t it called ‘the bridge’ or is this only in some countries?
Harry Murphey (2 months ago)
Capt Evans at the commissioning of the USS Johnson ... "This is a fighting ship, and I intend to take her in harm's way. And if you don't want to go along, you better get off now"... A captain that was good to his word ....
Ed Sunderland (1 month ago)
Thanks for the work! The story of this battle is epic. These guys drove their destroyers into the gates of hell and won the battle. This was a David and Goliath if there ever was one.
BlackAnvil47 (1 month ago)
Something today leadership is lacking in the White House
Ocean Mariner (2 months ago)
I served on a Fletcher DD-687 in the late 1960s. The ships only portholes are on the front and sides of the bridge. I think there were 9. There were square bridge and round bridge Fletchers, I don't know if they had the same number of ports. I don't remember any ports for the captain's cabin. The bridge doors to the wings had a fixed port. The structure with the holes looks like the framing in the bottom of the ship below the magazines and aft crew quarters. Could be from below the boilers. After steering has 2 motors/pumps side by side as you enter. There is lever to a single valve to switch between the motors.
agustus66 (2 months ago)
the pieces are a testament of the sheer hell and beating it took and the brave men that were on it
Andrew Taylor (2 months ago)
There is something fitting about the USS Johnston being the deepest warship wreck ever found. The Johnston seemingly never did things halfway. If you have never heard the story of the Battle of Samar and the Tin Cans of Taffy 3, I would heartily recommend you look into it. It was perhaps the most lopsided naval battle in not just WW2, but in Naval history. And a small force of Destroyers and Jeep Carriers did the impossible. Naval Historian Drachinifel has a great piece on it.
David Grit (2 months ago)
@Dale Coleman Anything Hornfischer writes is superbly done.
Dale Coleman (2 months ago)
Visit . The site is dedicated entirely to the Battle off Samar and the ships and men of Taffy 3. So is James D.Hornfischer's book :The Last Stand of the TinCan Sailors" The Audible version is fantastic
Cody King (2 months ago)
Whichever one it is, Johnston or Hoel, man she sure is blown into tiny pieces. Very sobering. Rest in peace, all who sank on her.
Cody King (1 month ago)
@Bretton Ferguson That would be S.S. John Burke. USS denotes warship. John Burke was a cargo ship.
Bretton Ferguson (1 month ago)
If anyone ever finds the USS John Burke, she will be in smaller pieces and scattered over 100+ square miles of ocean. I doubt if anyone will find any pieces large enough to conclusively identify. If anyone can find any pieces at all.
Dogsoldier 1950 (2 months ago)
To the bravery of the captain and her crew
I'm beachedwhale1945 (2 months ago)
That unidentifiable chunk around 9:30 is some type of machinery, as it's attached to bottom plating. I'd need a visit to a Fletcher museum to ID it, but perhaps the museum staff could find it in their own ships. But that gun mount aft is the key. Based on the shape, short ammunition hoist, and structure beneath the gun, this is Mount 54. Hoel reported her Mount 54 had half the barrel shot off at 0727, and this barrel is intact. This is Johnston. Most of the wreckage is clearly from the stern or would have been ripped off during the plunge. I expect the other target you found, but did not image, is the main hull, probably from Frame 110 forward (bulkhead between aft fireroom and forward engine room). The only two clear pieces forward of this you found were the mast and funnel, so this either broke up some distance away (and likely later in the plunge) or the forward section is in one piece. There may be another break in the forward fireroom, but that is not likely.
Taras Wertelecki (2 months ago)
Yes, hydrodynamic forces can rip a ship to pieces when it plummets to the bottom at a high rate of speed. That is why sections of Titanic's midsection and keel ended up hundreds of yards away from the collapsed stern section. A large ship can reach 50mph or more once it fills with water.
Andrew Taylor (2 months ago)
Husky Dogg Did Johnston have any depth charges left? I assumed Captain Evans was lobbing them at Japanese cruisers 1 handed after they ran out of everything else?
Husky Dogg (2 months ago)
@Andrew Taylor Additionally depth charges tend to explode as water pressure intensifies.
Andrew Taylor (2 months ago)
Brad Briscoe once all buoyancy is lost they’ll fall at a real good rate of speed. And hit hard when falling 20,000 feet. But there are a lot of powerful forces going on as the ship sinks. The damage to the ship from the shells that sunk it. Pieces peeling off as it falls. Air pockets imploding with incredible explosive force shredding metal like paper, and the speed that it hits bottom. Just from how undisturbed the surrounding area is, that you can still see trenches in the seabed from when the ship sank, makes me think that the ship was pretty well broken up before it hit bottom.
Adam Kraabel (2 months ago)
Johnston had gun 52 blown off as well
Chad Miller (2 months ago)
Its so crazy that such a huge steel object could be reduced to unrecognizable pieces of debris in less than 75 years.
Taras Wertelecki (2 months ago)
Air filled compartments could have imploded, but another possibility is one or more of her magazines could have exploded underwater. Johnston was on fire when she sank, and when she sank she capsized, which certainly would have caused enormous amounts of debris to go into the water. Perhaps ammunition slammed together and exploded, or was ignited by one of the fires started when Johnston was hit repeatedly by 14 and 8-inch shells. Either way, once she flooded with water, she plummeted to the bottom like a free falling aerial bomb, and hydrodynamic drag from water rushing through the ship and past it certainly ripped the decks, shell plating and bulkheads apart, as well as ripping away the mast and funnels. The wreck of the Japanese battleship Musashi is also mostly a huge debris field 4,000 feet down, and she definitely exploded during her descent to the bottom. I think the same thing could have happened to the U.S.S. Johnston somewhere along her 20,000 foot plus death dive to the floor of the Philippine Trench.
Andrew Taylor (2 months ago)
Most of the disintegration and shredding of the ship probably happened as she sank. When ships sink there are typically still a good number of sealed off air tight spaces still in them. When the ship gets real deep the structure fails and these spaces implode in an incredible release of force and energy. Tearing the already sunken ships apart on their way to the bottom. Remember this is the deepest warship ever found. The pressure on it as it sank was incredible.
Sir Boomsalot (2 months ago)
Plus, much of the debris was left undiscovered due to the depth
SevenandForty (2 months ago)
Most of the metal is actually fairly intact--the paint is still showing through in many places. Most of the disintegration happened at the surface or during sinking.
Tony L (2 months ago)
Chad Miller The Japanese continued to shoot at the vessel even after she had finally been abandoned. She was literally shot to pieces defending the rest of Taffy 3. RIP
invader440 (2 months ago)
Considering their track record, I'd say they probably did find what is left of the Johnston.