WW2 U.S. aircraft carrier found off California almost intact

WW2 U.S. aircraft carrier found off California almost intact

A World War II-era aircraft carrier was found on the ocean floor near California's Farallon Islands and it's looking great. Despite being underwater since 1951, the USS Independence (CVL-22) is "amazingly intact," said officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The then new U.S. Navy light aircraft carrier USS <i>Independence</i> in San Francisco Bay (USA) on 15 July 1943. On her deck, Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers can be seen.

NOAA, working with private industry partners and the U.S. Navy, has confirmed the location and condition of the USS Independence (CVL-22), the lead ship of its class of light aircraft carriers that were critical during the American naval offensive in the Pacific during World War II.

Resting in 2,600 feet of water off California's Farallon Islands, the carrier is "amazingly intact," said NOAA scientists, with its hull and flight deck clearly visible, with what appears to be a plane in the carrier's hangar bay.

Using an 18.5-foot-long autonomous underwater vehicle named Echo Ranger, the team created a 3-D sonar map of the ship, which was sitting upright on the ocean floor. While there are a few "gaping holes" in its hangar bays, much of the USS Independence (CVL-22) is intact. Researchers estimate there are around 300 wrecks in the surrounding area.

After 64 years on the seafloor, USS Independence (CVL-22) sits on the bottom as if ready to launch its planes

James Delgado, chief scientist on the Independence mission and maritime heritage director for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries


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