Missing U.S. WW2 warship found in the Pacific Ocean
By David Brennan - Newsweek
The wreck of the USS Helena, sunk 75 years ago by Japanese torpedoes, has been found in the Pacific Ocean.
The St. Louis-class light cruiser was discovered almost 3,000 feet below the surface of the New Georgia Sound, off the coast of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The ship was found by Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen’s RV Petrel research vessel; the third to be discovered by the team in the past two months.
The Helena sank during the battle of Kula Gulf on July 6, 1943. She was hit by three Japanese torpedoes and went down with the loss of 168 of her roughly 900-man crew.
Under continued enemy fire, groups of survivors drifted to a number of small nearby islands, with some on lifeboats and others clinging desperately to the sides.
Some sailors had to wait 10 days before they were rescued, as other U.S. warships were repeatedly told to cancel rescue operations and pursue nearby Japanese ships. A large group of survivors ended up on the island of Vella Lavella, where locals helped care for the wounded.
Many sailors fled into the thick jungle to avoid being spotted by Japanese patrols. After days in hiding, they were eventually rescued by Navy ships.
After the battle, the Helena’s crewmembers were praised for their heroism and determination to survive, despite the desperate situation in which they found themselves.