Captain McVay was walking upright on the side of his ship as the bow went under, and a wave of water came and washed him into the sea. He swam. He watched as the fantail rose 200 feet in the air. He saw his men jump, and he watched them fall to their deaths. A man falling 100 feet into water might as well be landing on concrete. The Indianapolis paused a moment, then slipped into the sea, straight down, picking up speed, with another two miles to fall before she reached the bottom. Men covered in fuel oil wiped their eyes to look for their ship, but there wasn’t a ship anymore. They kept looking , but there was only the darkness, the black sky and the endless sea.
It took only twelve minutes. Shorter than halftime at a football game, but enough time to kill about 300 men and put the rest in the water, roughly 880 men scattered 600 miles west of Guam, 550 miles east of Leyte and 250 miles north of the Palau Islands, the closest land.