Thailand – Australia – United Kingdom

Devastation of Pearl Harbour

Hollywood duo Josh Hartnett and Ben Affleck portrayed the American desire to avenge the infamous Pearl Harbour bombings playing two US pilots in Michael Bay’s hit 2001 epic.

But, the true devastation of the revenge attacks on Japanese forces in 1944 has been captured in one of the most ambitious underwater projects ever undertaken.


Secrets: A Japanese tank on the sunken deck of the the San Francisco Maru TX

Operation Hailstorm was two years in the making  – but on February 17, 1944, American forces blitzed the Chuuk Islands, in the south western region of the Pacific Ocean, sinking 70 Japanese ships, 270 aircraft and killing close to 3,000 people – though the official death toll has never been confirmed.

And commissioned by the BBCs Natural History Unit, a 30 strong team of divers, deep sea biologists and under water cameraman explored remotest depths of the Pacific to unravel some of the secrets behind the America’s revenge attacks.

Bow gun

Revenge attacks: Michael Pitts on the bow gun

‘We were pushing the boundaries, spending extra long periods as a visitor in an alien element’, presenter-explorer Kate Humble told the Sunday Mirror.

‘I’m not a brave person and I was nervous because every dive has its risks’.

Series producer Dale Templar said: “It was a true voyage of discovery.

Kate Humble explores a reef

Voyage of discovery: Presenter-explorer Kate Humble explores a reef

‘Most of the sites we explored had never been dived before.

‘The expedition undertook some of the deepest and most dangerous diving ever attempted by a TV crew.

Kate Humble admitted she was 'nervous' before the fact finding dives

Kate Humble admitted she was ‘nervous’ before the fact finding dives

 Pushing boundaries: Team member Bob Cranston

Pushing boundaries: Team member Bob Cranston

‘But one of the most awe-inspiring sights was the graveyard of the Japanese fleet.

‘There were just so many ghosts down there.’

Pacific Abyss will be shown in three hour-long specials starting next Sunday on BBC1 at 8pm.

Mike deGruy surfaces after a night dive

Ghosts: Mike de Gruy surfaces after a night dive

Kate Humble and Betty Bomber TX

Awe-inspiring: Kate Humble explores the Betty Bomber TX


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