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By James P. Delgado

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Trapped below, they were either incinerated by fire or drowned as water poured into the ruptured hull. I think of them as we swim past the side of the No. S. Navy salvagers, and arrive at the top of the No. I turret, whose three 14-inch guns angle down. S. fleet at Pearl Harbor was sent to the bottom by a new force in naval war: aircraft. In a matter of minutes, aerial torpedoes and bombs devastated the American ships at Pearl Harbor. In a heartbeat, Arizona, a mighty battlewagon bristling with huge guns capable of hurtling massive steel shells across the horizon, died, and few of her complement of 1,177 men escaped.

We mapped, photographed, researched, studied and then shared what we learned with the public through museum displays, books and magazine articles, television screens and newspapers. Since leaving government service thirteen years ago to become the director of a maritime museum, I have continued to dive and study wrecks. Now, thanks to The Sea Hunters show and its television audience of forty million people around the world, I have an even greater ability to share these exciting discoveries. James Delgado in the water examining the Civil War-era submarine Sub Marine Explorer.

I hit the bottom again and start rolling. My mouth opens convulsively, and I take in a breath of cold water and gag. I’m going to die, I realize, and I’m really angry. Like most accidents, this one is a combination of a foolish move and a deceptively dangerous dive site. My eyes are wide open, but my vision is narrowing, and I know that I’m about to black out. Finally, my dive training kicks in. I reach down and tug at the clasp of my weight belt. It falls free. Then I reach up to my buoyancy compensator to pull the lanyard that activates a co2 cartridge.

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