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Out of the Depths: A World War II Survivor Speaks Out

On July 30, 1945 the USS Indianapolis was struck by two Japanese torpedoes, sinking her within minutes into the Pacific Ocean.  It was the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy.  For almost five days the survivors were adrift at sea in shark-infested waters, wearing nothing more than life jackets. The true story is unimaginable and documented in Marine survivor, Edgar Harrell's book, "Out of the Depths: An Unforgettable WWII Story of survival, Courage, and the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis."

Back in 1945, Edgar Harrell was a mere 20 year old Marine on board the USS Indianapolis. After transporting uranium for the atomic bomb that would soon be dropped on Hiroshima, the USS Indianapolis headed unaccompanied toward a small island in the South Pacific in preparation to launch an attack on Tokyo.

On that fateful night on July 30, Edgar was sleeping on the deck as it was a lot cooler than his cabin and they were given the permission to do so as they were supposedly on safe waters. He was rudely awakened when the first torpedo hit the ship. The ship started sinking immediately. The bow was cut off.

The second torpedo then hit close to mid-ship. No one lived to tell the story as everyone situated there perished.

Multiple explosions could be heard in the lower decks.

From his position, Edgar could see that the bulkhead was breaking and he knew that his emergency station was near to the mid-ship. All power and communications were gone. The only light came from the inferno of the decks below.

There were 1197 people on board the USS Indianapolis. About 900 of them managed to get into the waters. After floating in the ocean for 4 and a half days - fighting off hyperthermia, dehydration, saline poisoning and shark attacks - only 317 survived.

Out of the Depths tells one man's story of courage, ingenuity and faith in God's providence in the midst of the worst disaster in U.S. history. For a copy of Edgar's book, Out of the Depths, please visit our Crossroads eStore.

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