USS Indianapolis Live - From The Deep
Airs Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Credit: Courtesy of Paul G. Allen
—A Live Exploration of the Final Resting Place of the Sunken World War II Ship 72 Years After It Was Tragically Lost—
PBS will give viewers a live tour of the wreckage from the USS Indianapolis, the World War II vessel that has rested at the bottom of the North Pacific Ocean since its sinking in 1945.
Lost for more than 72 years, the U.S. Navy cruiser was found and positively identified in August through careful analysis of wreckage and markings by the expedition crew onboard the Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel, owned by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen.
Hosted by Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist Miles O’Brien from a New York studio, “USS Indianapolis Live – From The Deep” will allow viewers to see parts of the wreckage of the Fifth Fleet’s naval flagship, which lies more than three miles below the surface of the Philippine Sea.
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It premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 on PBS member television stations, PBS.org, and on PaulAllen.com. This program will be simul-streamed as a Facebook Live through the PBS Facebook account at 10/9c.
As video and images are transmitted from a state-of-the-art remotely operated vehicle (ROV), Robert Kraft, Vulcan’s director of subsea operations, will provide live narration direct from the R/V Petrel.
O’Brien will be joined by experts and scientists, including William Toti, retired U.S. Navy captain and final commanding officer of the Los Angeles class submarine USS Indianapolis (SSN-697) to comment on what viewers are seeing, as well as to discuss the history of the ship, its missions and crew, its sinking and the significance of the expedition.
“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,” Mr. Allen said. “As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances. I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming.”
The Indianapolis was lost in the final days of World War II when it was hit by two torpedoes from a Japanese submarine in the early morning hours of July 30, 1945.
It sank in 12 minutes, making it impossible to deploy much of its life-saving equipment.
Of the 1,196 sailors and Marines onboard, about 300 went down with the ship, and nearly 900 sailors were set adrift.
Prior to the attack, the Indianapolis had just completed a secret mission to deliver components of one of the two nuclear weapons that were dropped on Japan.
Due to a miscommunication with the ship’s destination port, no one realized the Indianapolis was missing. A patrol eventually happened to spot the survivors and a rescue was undertaken.
After spending more than four days in the water amid what is said to be the deadliest sustained shark attack in history, only slightly more than 300 survived.
The incident is considered the greatest loss of life at sea from a single ship in U.S. Navy history.
The USS Indianapolis remains the property of the U.S. Navy and its location will remain confidential and restricted by the Navy.
The crew of the R/V Petrel has been collaborating with Navy authorities and other experts throughout its search operations and will continue to work on plans to honor the 19 crew members still alive today, as well as the families of all those who served on the highly decorated cruiser.
Care will be taken to ensure preservation of this historic site during the live feed on PBS.
“The fact that the mystery has been solved and the wreckage of the USS Indianapolis has been found after 72 years is amazing,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming at PBS. “Equally amazing is that the video feed from the ROV will allow PBS viewers to see what the expedition crew sees three miles below on the ocean floor. The use of this technology powerfully connects us to what happened in 1945, allowing us to reflect on the sacrifice of the hundreds of men who lost their lives in the defense of our nation.”
Produced by Vulcan Productions, Inc. and Miles O’Brien Productions, LLC for PBS. Physical production services provided by Peacock Productions. Managing the deep-sea expedition and live feed are Carole Tomko and Rocky Collins, executive producers for Vulcan Productions. Peacock Productions is overseeing the in-studio elements led by executive producer Lloyd Fales and Steven Flisler, senior director, Production and Business Operations. The project is overseen for PBS by Bill Gardner, Vice President of Programming and Development.
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