1945: Still no rescue

Wednesday, August 1. The Philippine Sea where the Indianapolis was sunk. Another day of blinding sun. Another day of no rescue.

The sharks return, circling the kapok and human floatilla. They dart in.

The men—who’ve been floating in the water for two days and one night—are weakened. They panic.

Men in the grip of group delusions followed one swimmer to an island he thought he saw, another to the ghost of the ship, another into the ocean depths where fountains of fresh water seemed to promise to slake their thirst; all were lost. Fights broke out and men slashed each other with knives. Saturated lifejackets with waterlogged knots dragged other victims to their deaths. “We became a mass of delirious, screaming men,” says the doctor grimly.