USS Indianapolis survivor: God "intervened in our life"

- An historic B-29 plane is on display this weekend in Sarasota. One if its missions brought an end to World War II.

Just weeks before the war ended, a Japanese submarine blasted two torpedoes into the USS Indianapolis, sending the ship to the bottom of the sea and its men overboard.

A survivor of the USS Indianapolis believes he and others serving on his ship were given a second chance. The attack caught the crew off guard.

"I was just about to come down the deck when the first torpedo hit," said Harlan Twible.

Harlan Twible was just getting off watch on the USS Indianapolis. They were navigating the Philippine Sea and had just finished dropping off contents of the atomic bomb.

Suddenly, a Japanese submarine hit the ship with two torpedoes. Within minutes, the USS Indianapolis began to tilt.

"It blew the bow off and I didn't know that either. I ran down and reported to the executive officer," he said.

Twible gave the order for the men to abandon ship.

"We got everybody together, tied them to nets in the sea. We had what you call life nets and everybody had life jackets," he said.

For four days and five nights, Twible and the men fought off sharks, mental exhaustion and thirst.

"They would only survive as a group and not individuals. This realization came to them. Each person had to make their own decision. They were in the water and it was a time they had not expected," Twible said.

Once U.S. aircraft found the men in the water, they knew they had survived.

"I was doing morse code and I was doing it so fast they said, 'you are doing it so fast, we can't read it.' We were all excited," he said.

With their rescue came the harsh reality that many had died.

"I took 325 men with me and I brought out of the water 151 of them," Twible said.

To this day, Twible knows he and other survivors were given another chance.

"Those of us who had been rescued realized God had intervened in our life and we had other things to do in our life. I hope everybody fulfilled his obligation," he said. 

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