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Deep-sea researchers discover second missing Battle of Midway ship

Alex Woodward
AP

After the recent discovery of a Japanese aircraft carrier that was destroyed in the 1942 Battle of Midway, researchers combing through the deep seas for lost World War II-era warships have found the remains of another craft.

Discovered nearly 5,500-metres below the surface in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, roughly 2,000 kilometres from Pearl Harbour, the carrier Akagi was found by a crew using an autonomous underwater vehicle on Sunday morning.

Image scans show debris surrounding the vessel on the sea floor.

Rob Kraft, Vulcan Inc's director of undersea operations, told the Associated Press that the Akagi is "sitting upright on her keel, we can see the bow, we can see the stern clearly, you can see some of the gun emplacements on there, you can see that some of the flight deck is also torn up and missing so you can actually look right into where the flight deck would be".

It's the second ship the crew of the Petrel has discovered within the last week as it hones in on an area of debris north of the Hawaiian islands.

A few hundred kilometres from the US military base at Midway Atoll, the June 1942 battle brought the US a key victory in its Pacific campaign, with American warplanes and aircraft carriers surprising Japanese forces and successfully sinking all four Imperial Navy carriers in the melee.

Decades later, Vulcan Inc—founded by billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen—is leading the discovery mission in partnership with the US Navy.

Historians and scientists aboard the Petrel found the lost Imperial Navy carrier Kaga last week. It was only the second ship to be found since the battle. The crew hopes to find the rest of the lost ships from the pivotal 1942 battle.

Remains of the other two Imperial Navy carriers from the 1942 battle—the Soryu and Hiryu—have yet to be found.

The remains of the USS Yorktown—the only US carrier sunk in the battle—were discovered in 1998.

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