Marc Hoover:
Facing the ‘jaws’ of death

Most of us enjoy a good horror story because we go to bed knowing it was only a movie or great story.

But sometimes a story is so horrific it’s impossible to capture in either a movie or a book.

Here is one of those stories. Although this isn’t my story, it’s still a true horror story.

Marc Hoover

During the early morning of July 30, 1945, the U.S.S. Indianapolis had just delivered a top secret package that would soon end WWII. The contents were parts of a nuclear bomb used to defeat Japan.

On the return home, crew members of the Navy ship heard a loud explosion that rocked their ship.

The explosion tossed sailors around like rag dolls. Disoriented sailors scurried for cover throughout the ship.

The order to abandon ship would echo throughout the sinking ship.

It didn’t take long for the crew to realize their ship had been attacked by a Japanese submarine. The submarine had struck the U.S.S. Indianapolis with torpedoes. Under the cover of night, sailors grabbed lifejackets and jumping into the ocean. Within twelve minutes the crushed ship sank 18,000 feet underneath the ocean. The ship sank so fast that many sailors died within minutes from either exposure or drowning.

Although difficult to imagine, the sailors who died immediately were these fortunate ones. Their suffering was over. For the survivors, their nightmares had just began. During the first night, hundreds of sailors screamed for help as dead bodies floated everywhere. The sailors hoped for a speedy rescue. However, no rescue would come anytime soon.

Survivors soon realized they had just entered the gates of Hell and Satan would be waiting.

By morning, there were roughly 900 sailors floating in the water. Many didn’t realize they wouldn’t live to see another day.

Satan and his minions welcomed the terrified sailors to their first day in Hell. Satan’s minions soon arrived in the form of monstrous sharks with eyes like coal, razor sharp teeth, and a vice like grip.

Hundreds of tiger sharks and oceanic whitetip sharks had arrived from miles away after picking up on human blood.

The large sea demons treated the scene like a buffet and began eating the floating sailors. The sailors who weren’t eaten by sharks succumbed to hypothermia, dementia and dehydration. Other sailors went insane and strangled each other in uncontrolled fits of rage after drinking deadly salt water.

To preserve life, survivors pushed their dead comrades into the waiting mouths of hungry sharks. Survivors watched the sharks carry their deceased comrades into the abyss.

After being stranded in the ocean for several days with no food or water, a rescue ship appeared.

They pulled 317 survivors from the ocean. Survivors would have to live with what they had seen.

This incident was the most horrific tragedy in the history of the U.S. Navy. Although forgotten by most Americans, this incident is worse than any horror movie I have ever seen.

Captain Charles McVay had survived the incident. Sadly, the navy blamed him for the sinking and court-martialed him.

Eventually, they reversed the decision and returned McVay to active duty. Although his fellow survivors didn’t hold him responsible, families of the deceased sailors blamed him for losing their sons.

McVay retired in 1949 and rose to the rank of rear admiral. Sadly, he never recovered and committed suicide in 1968. He was found with a toy sailor in one hand and a revolver in the other hand.

Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page Life with Grandpa and he also just wrote Just Bite Me: A Guide to Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Walking Nightmares, which is available on