USS Independence served during American naval offensive in Pacific theater. (Image from sanctuaries.noaa.gov)
After more than half a century at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, a World War II-era aircraft carrier potentially containing one hundred barrels of nuclear waste has been rediscovered by scientists.
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that it has once again located the USS Independence. Scientists sunk the carrier in 1951 off the California coast after using it for atomic tests, and now thanks to help from the Navy and Boeing they’ve been able to determine the exact spot where it rests today.
A camera-equipped and remotely controlled underwater submarine was used by NOAA to examine the scene and determine that they had in fact found the right carrier.
“After 64 years on the seafloor, Independence sits on the bottom as if ready to launch its planes,” said James Delgado, a chief scientist for NOAA’s Independence mission. “This ship fought a long, hard war in the Pacific and after the war was subjected to two atomic blasts that ripped through the ship. It is a reminder of the industrial might and skill of the ‘greatest generation’ that sent not only this ship, but their loved ones to war.”