WWII US Navy Destroyer Believed to Be World's Deepest Shipwreck Gets Mapped and Surveyed

The USS Johnson, pictured here in 1943.
US Navy/Naval History and Heritage Command

Caladan Oceanic, a US-based private company that focuses on ocean expeditions, gets credit for reaching the shipwreck on March 31. Its research vessel, the DSV Limiting Factor, was able to survey the wreck.

A U.S.-based crew has mapped and surveyed what's been called the deepest shipwreck ever discovered for the first time. The Caladan Oceanic filmed the entire wreck site of the World War II U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Johnston, which sat almost totally undisturbed for the last 77 years, the Naval History and Heritage Command first reported.

The Caladan Oceanic, a private company that focuses on ocean expeditions, had their research vessel, the DSV Limiting Factor, survey the wreck, which was reported to be more than 100-feet deeper than previously believed, sitting idle more than four miles below the surface of the Pacific, CNN reported.

The warship was sunk by the Japanese navy during the Battle off Samar, which was part of the larger, sprawling Battle of Leyte Gulf, on Oct. 25, 1944. It was one of the largest battles in the history of naval warfare and engagement that sounded the death knell of the Japanese navy in World War II, according to the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC).

The ship had been resting more than 20,000 feet below surface in the Philippine Sea, the Naval History and Heritage Command reported. 

Surveying the ship was an amazing feat for the crew, particularly for Victor Vescovo, a former U.S. Navy commander and founder of the Caladan Oceanic, who guided the Limiting Factor through the entire process which was done over a two-day period in eight-hour segments, CNN reported.

Vescovo's passion for diving has brought him some of the world's most hard-to-get-to places. He holds the record for being the first person in history to have been to the top of all the world's continents, both poles, and the bottom of all its oceans, CNN reported. Vescovo has reached Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth, and the Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth, according to the Guinness World Records.