Sat, 02 Dec 2023

NEW LONDON, Connecticut: Video footage taken deep in the Pacific Ocean provided the first detailed view of three World War II aircraft carriers that sank in the Battle of Midway in June 1942, a turning point that shifted control of the Pacific theater from Japan to the U.S.

In September, remote submersibles that operated 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) below the surface surveyed two of the four Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers destroyed during the battle, the Akagi and the Kaga, and the USS Yorktown.

The high-quality videos offered new clues about the final hours of the aircraft carriers.

After watching the video, Julian Hodges, 100, one of the last living veterans who served on the Yorktown, said, "Boy, she took a beating. I just hated to see my ship torn up like that."

All three aircraft carriers have been previously discovered, the Yorktown in 1998 and the Japanese ships four years ago, but the Akagi was only preliminarily identified, and limited images were recorded of the other two.

However, the Ocean Exploration Trust, founded by Bob Ballard, who led teams that discovered the Yorktown and the Titanic, conducted extensive video surveys of the three ships during a month-long exploration of the Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, some 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Daniel Wagner, chief scientist for Ocean Exploration Trust, said, "We were able to spend over basically three full days on these sites, including two full days on the seafloor, really methodically and thoroughly documenting the entire wrecks."

The surveys were streamed online and viewed by more than 100 scientists, historians, and other experts worldwide, who participated in a live forum alongside about two dozen scientists who took part in the mission.

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