Advert

​Man Shares How He Survived Worst Shark Attack Of All Time After Ship Sank

Published 
| Last updated 

​Man Shares How He Survived Worst Shark Attack Of All Time After Ship Sank

A man has told how he survived what is now widely regarded as the worst shark attack of all time, having managed to escape infested waters after his ship sank in the Pacific Ocean.

Edgar Harrell was on board the USS Indianapolis in 1945 when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sank - leaving him and 1,195 others fighting for life in shark-infested waters.

Hundreds of his shipmates were killed by sharks, with the incident being the largest loss of life from a single ship in US Navy history.

Over the course of four harrowing days, Harrell and many others floated in the middle of the Philippine Sea while others around them were eaten by predators.

Advert

Speaking to The Sun, Harrell recalled: "All we heard was men being eaten alive. Every day, every night.

"You'd find your buddy and check him and find that he's disembowelled, or the bottom was gone."

Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

Eventually, however, Harrell and his fellow survivors were miraculously found by chance by a friendly bomber plane.

Advert

Sergeant Harrell, who had been just 20 at the time, had been on lookout the night his ship came under attack.

As the vessel went down, he scrambled to get a life jacket and clung onto a rail, before leaping into the water as the ship submerged - taking 300 men with it.

The hundreds of men that were left in the water had no food, were severely dehydrated and had to battle extreme cold at night and baking heat during the day.

Then, of course, there were the sharks, with Harrell saying all he heard was 'men being eaten alive'.

Advert

"You would hear a blood-curdling scream and look and see someone going under," he said.

After some men began 'hallucinating' after drinking sea water, on the second day they were able to drink a few drops of rainwater by catching it in their mouths.

Edgar Harrell. Credit: YouTube/Ohio Valley Military Society
Edgar Harrell. Credit: YouTube/Ohio Valley Military Society
Advert

On the third day - when just 17 of the 80 men Harrell had been with were still alive - a group of five sailors floated over with a makeshift raft, which they'd crafted from empty aluminium ammunition cases and orange crates.

Harrell and his friend went with the five new arrivals to try and paddle closer to the Philippines, later finding a crate of potatoes floating past.

He said: "They were rotten. But solid on the inside. That's all the water and food that I had for four-and-a-half days."

Finally, an American bomber flying overhead accidentally stumbled upon the survivors, having been out on an antisubmarine patrol.

Advert

After an amphibious plane rescued 49 people, seven ships arrived to pull the remaining survivors to safety.

Harrell was taken to hospital to recuperate, later being awarded the Purple Heart for bravery.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Ohio Valley Military Society

Topics: Sharks, World News, News, US News

Jess Hardiman
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Entertainment

The Trailer For Stranger Things Season Four Is Here

21 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

News

Men With Large Noses Tend To Have Bigger Penises, Study Finds

3 days ago