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8 Dec 2019 18:00
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  •   Home > News > International

    World War II submarine USS Grayback found off coast of Japan

    The final resting place of 80 US sailors is located in Japanese waters. Without the correction of a historical translation error, however, it might have remained hidden.


    A missing World War II submarine has been found in Japanese waters, 75 years after it sank with 80 US sailors on board.

    The US navy officially verified the discovery on Tuesday after a team dedicated to surveying lost submarines made the find off the coast of Okinawa in June.

    The USS Grayback went down in the East China Sea during its 10th patrol mission in February 1944 and, according to Japanese reports, "exploded and sank immediately".

    But a translation error in 1946 placed the submarine 160km from its true final location.

    The expedition's Japanese historian and researcher Yutaka Iwasaki re-translated the original documents and discovered the mistake, giving the team a new area to focus on.

    Tim Taylor, who founded the Lost 52 Project behind the mission, said the incredible find was made after one of the team's robotic vehicles had technical problems and was forced to return.

    "It was amazing; the team had resigned to the fact that we're headed back to port and would not complete the total search area this year," Mr Taylor said.

    "As the team was viewing the last bit of this data roll across the screen, you could feel everyone shuffling and getting ready to shift gears to secure the ship for getting underway.

    "The next thing we see in the last quarter of the last line of data is the USS Grayback roll across the monitor."

    The Tambor-class submarine sank 14 ships during the war and was one of 52 US submarines lost in action.

    Fremantle and Brisbane were among its ports between missions in the Pacific.

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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