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This Day in History: 1945-07-30

After a high-speed trip to the United States Air Base at Tinian in the Mariana Islands to deliver components for “Little Boy”, the first atomic bomb used in combat, the Portland Class heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-58 while on her way to the Philippines, sinking in 12 minutes. Of 1,196 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remaining 900 faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks while floating with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted four days later by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Only 317 survived.

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