THE world’s deepest shipwreck has been discovered more than four miles beneath the ocean almost 80 years after being sunk.
The fearsome USS Destroyer Escort Samuel B. Roberts has finally been found in the Philippine Sea by explorers.
It sank to the depths of the water almost 78 years ago in the Western Pacific Ocean and has baffled hunters for decades.
But eagle-eyed adventurer Victor Vescovo, who has completed expeditions to the world’s deepest points, located the wreck on June 22.
He found the vessel, now broken in two, at a depth of 22,621 feet – which is over 3,000ft taller than Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak.
The explorer dived down with a pilot and sonar specialist Jeremie Morizet to try and trace the wreck from end to end.
After dropping down six times over eight days, the team found the two halves of the ship positioned around 33 feet from one another.
Previous data suggesting a possible location of the ship had been inaccurate, forcing the team to go back to the drawing board.
They instead armed themselves with a custom-built sidescan solar system after carrying out exhaustive research.
Vescovo and his army of experts initially located debris from the three-tube torpedo launcher of Sammy B, confirming it was close by.
It was then located on the final day of their diving expeditions and has bagged the title of the world’s deepest shipwreck ever,
Vescovo said of the discovery: “It was an extraordinary honor to locate this incredibly famous ship, and by doing so have the chance to retell her story of heroism and duty to those who may not know of the ship and her crew’s sacrifice.
“Resting at 6,895 meters, it is now the deepest shipwreck ever located and surveyed.
“It appears her bow hit the seafloor with some force, causing some buckling,” he explained.
“Her stern also separated about 5 meters on impact, but the whole wreck was together.
“This small ship took on the finest of the Japanese Navy, fighting them to the end.”
The incredible warship is thought to have been taken out by a Japanese vessel during the Battle of Samar in 1944.
The Sammy B sunk alongside other US ships including the USS Johnston and became lost for decades in the ocean.
Vescovo told CNN: “The Sammy B is a small vessel as military ships go, and we weren’t really sure that we could find her in the vast and extremely deep ocean where she went down.
“But with perseverance, some great historical analysis, and a whole lot of deep ocean technology and hard work, we were able to find her and provide a great opportunity to tell her amazing story.
“It is unbelievably thrilling to find a wreck on the bottom of the deep ocean, given all the difficulties in trying to find them.
“It is such an immense privilege to be the first person to see them after they went down in battle almost 80 years ago.”
A combination of “detective work and innovative technology” allowed the team to uncover its final resting place.
Ex-US Navy chiefs described the Sammy B as a “hallowed war grave”.
All data related to the dive, including sonar maps, video and photographs, will be donated to the U.S. Navy.