The sailors on the USS Indianapolis experienced a real-life horror movie as their ship sank in shark-infested waters in the South Pacific. Survivors of the terrifying ordeal recount how they fought off sharks as hundreds of the creatures descended on the blood-filled waters as fellow sailors were eaten alive. Of 1,197 men on board the USS Indianapolis, only 317 would live to tell the harrowing story.
The Daily Mail reports that the navy ship was part of a top secret mission to provide atomic bomb parts during WWII that would go down in history as the worst sea disaster in the U.S. Navy’s history. Though the disaster left 880 men dead, the USS Indianapolis would get very little media coverage as the end of WWII and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima would take precedence. Now, thanks to Hollywood, the 32 surviving men are finally able to tell their story of survival on the big screen.
Two movies about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis are in the works in Hollywood. One will star Nicolas Cage and another with Robert Downey Jr. This won’t be the first time that the USS Indianapolis is mentioned on the big screen. In fact, the harrowing tale was discussed in the horror classic Jaws when character Quint discusses the Navy disaster.
In fact, the USS Indianapolis was a topic of debate following the success of Jaws with a number of film projects began regarding the Navy disaster. However, time and time again the USS Indianapolis survivors would have their hopes dashed of their story being told as each project came to a close without ever making it to the big screen.
However, nearly 70 years after the accident, the 32 living survivors will finally see their story told through the eyes of Hollywood. The survivors, now in the 80s and 90s, have spoken with actors and producers in Hollywood to ensure the movie is as accurate as possible. Richard Stephens, an 89-year-old survivor, went to visit for the set of the Nicholas Cage film in Alabama and said the film seems to be “pretty true to facts.” The movie is said to be called USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage.
“I told (Cage) I didn’t like movies that were fictional, and they should be trying to show more respect, they should be using the facts. He said it’s going to be pretty true to facts.”
The story seems made-for-Hollywood as survivors recount the horrifying scenes that took place at sea after Japanese torpedos tore through the ship. Survivor Harold Eck wrote a book about the USS Indianapolis and says that at one point, there were hundreds of fins surrounding survivors. The men would take the life jackets off of deceased sailors and push their bodies out to sea in a bid to get the sharks to leave the living alone. Eck says that the sharks tore through the bodies of the dead and even preyed on living victims.
“There soon were hundreds of fins around us. The first attack I saw was on a sailor who had drifted away from the group. I heard yelling and screaming and saw him thrashing… then I just saw red foamy water.”
Survivors say they would curl their feet up next to their body in an attempt to keep the sharks from bumping into them as they went into a feeding frenzy below. It was noted that the blood in the water from the accident caused sharks from miles away to make their way to the USS Indianapolis wreckage.
In total, 880 men would lose their life from the accident, with many dying in shark attacks, from dehydration, and drowning.
Did you know about the USS Indianapolis and the horrifying shark attacks that took place?
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