Mystery solved as Australia finds submarine wreckage after 103 years

23 December, 2017, 01:47 | Author: Phil Peters
  • The ship was originally lost in World War I More

The first images captured by the expedition show that the vessel, the AE1, is remarkably well preserved and apparently in one piece, the Royal Australian Navy said.

The submarine, AE-1, was the first Allied vessel to sink during World War One, while patrolling for German warships in 1914, in circumstances that have never been established.

The wreck of the first allied vessel lost in the First World War has been discovered 103 years after it vanished off the coast of Papua New Guinea following a search that has finally ended Australia's oldest naval mystery.

The submarine vanished in 1914, with 35 crew members on board.

Ms Payne said the loss of HMAS AE1 was a "a significant tragedy felt by our nation and our allies".

The search personnel and crew of the Furgro Equato conducted a memorial service for the submarine's officers and sailors.

The exact cause of the sinking remains unclear, but as Sky News reports "it has always been assumed it was not a victim of enemy action, since the only German vessel nearby at the time was a small survey ship".

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The Australian Navy and the Dutch-owned Fugro survey company found the missing submarine on December 20, just a week into its search. It has been found off Papua New Guinea.

After attacking Turkish shipping in the Sea of Marmara, AE2 came under fire from a Turkish gunboat and was scuttled so she would not fall into Turkish hands and the crew ended up in a Turkish prison camp.

The underwater autonomous vehicle used in the successful search for HMAS AE1.

The Fugro Equator, one of the survey ships that participated in the search for a Malaysia Airline aircraft, which disappeared in 2014 in the Indian Ocean, discovered the missing submarine on the 13th expedition to find it.

Payne said she hoped the discovery would help investigators establish the cause of the sinking.

The Royal Australian Navy and the Silentworld Foundation commissioned the most comprehensive and technologically capable search ever committed to finding AE1 and the 35 Australian, British and New Zealand men entombed within.

Payne said the government was working with its PNG counterparts to preserve the site and arrange for a commemoration of the sub and its crew.

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