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Explorers found a Japanese aircraft carrier that sank in the Battle of Midway

Akagi in the summer of 1941 (U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation/WikiCommons)

A research crew that specializes in locating lost World War II warships has found a missing Japanese aircraft carrier that sank during the Battle of Midway.

Vulcan Inc. director of undersea operations Rob Kraft said sonar data showed one of two Japanese aircraft carriers, the Akagi or the Soryu, resting about 18,000 feet down in the Pacific Ocean, more than 1,300 miles northwest of Pearl Harbor.

An autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, found the ship and will be deployed again with a high-resolution sonar system that will allow the crew to measure the ship and confirm its identity.

“We read about the battles, we know what happened. But when you see these wrecks on the bottom of the ocean and everything, you kind of get a feel for what the real price is for war,” Frank Thompson, a historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C., who is onboard the Petrel, told the Associated Press. “You see the damage these things took, and it’s humbling to watch some of the video of these vessels because they’re war graves.”

The researchers found another Japanese ship, the Kaga, last week. Only one of the seven ships that went down in the June 1942 air and sea battle — five Japanese vessels and two American — had been previously located.

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The crew’s goal is to find all of the missing ships from the battle.

The Battle of Midway was intended to be another surprise attack against the U.S. by the Japanese. However, the U.S. intercepted communications and met the Japanese naval and air forces about 200 miles off Midway Atoll. More than 2,000 Japanese and 300 Americans died.

The expedition was founded by Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft who passed away in 2018. So far the crew has discovered more than 30 lost vessels.

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© 2019 New York Daily News