The title of a “The Greatest Highline Ever” is being given to a group of people who probably knew very little about rope rescue as we know it and also probably wish they never had to set up this highline.
On May 11, 1945 an aircraft carrier called the USS Bunker Hill was near Okinawa, Japan supporting the invasion of Okinawa when it was struck by two kamikaze planes in quick succession. The ship was heavily damaged and the crew suffered massive casualties. 346 sailors and airmen were killed, 43 were lost at sea and never found, and 264 were wounded.
A light cruiser named the USS Wilkes Barre was one of several ships that came to the rescue. The Wilkes Barre was brought alongside Bunker Hill, with the Wilkes-Barre ’s bow placed hard against the Bunker Hill’s starboard quarter. The cruiser played 10 streams of water on the persistent fires, while 40 men, trapped astern in Bunker Hill scrambled to safety. Additionally, the injured were ferried to safety from one ship to another utilizing a highline. The title of “Greatest Highline Ever” goes to the “Greatest Generation”. Take a look at the pictures below and see if you agree. Additionally, take 3 minutes to watch the Youtube video below. There is some really compelling footage of the actual attack as well as some pretty gruesome pictures of the aftermath. Let’s not forget the sacrifice these guys made.