USS Indianapolis discovered after 72 years 

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USS Indianapolis discovered after 72 years 

The wreckage of the USS Indianapolis, which was torpedoed and sank during the final days of World War II, has been found 18,000 feet below the north Pacific Ocean.

The discovery was made Friday by a team of civilian researchers led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, according to the billionaire’s website.

"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 in ending World War II is truly humbling," Allen said in a statement.

The heavy cruiser was commissioned in 1932 and was active throughout the war. It was attacked by a Japanese submarine and sunk on July 30, 1945. It went down in 12 minutes, making it impossible to send a distress signal or deploy life-saving equipment. 

The wreckage of the USS Indianapolis was discovered Friday. (Photo courtesy Paul Allen)

Most of 1,196 sailors and Marines aboard survived the sinking, but died later due to exposure, dehydration and drowning. Of the 316 survivors, 22 are still alive.

When it was sunk, the USS Indianapolis had just completed a secret mission delivering components of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima that brought an end to the war in the Pacific, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington.

Allen's 13-person team will continue to survey the site and tour of the wreckage in compliance with laws governing war graves.

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