Battle of Midway: Second World War II-era Japanese carrier apparently found in Pacific

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Deep-sea explorers and historians on Sunday announced they apparently found a second World War II-era Japanese aircraft carrier that sank during the infamous Battle of Midway.

A review of sonar data captured Sunday showed either the Japanese carrier Akagi or the Soryu resting in nearly 18,000 feet of water in the Pacific Ocean more than 1,300 miles northwest of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Vulcan Inc. director of undersea operations Rob Kraft said.

The researchers used an autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, equipped with sonar to find the ship. The vehicle had been out overnight collecting data, and the image of a warship appeared in the first set of readings on Sunday morning.

In this June 4, 1942 file photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the USS Astoria (CA-34) steamed by USS Yorktown (CV-5), shortly after the carrier had been hit by three Japanese bombs in the Battle of Midway. 

In this June 4, 1942 file photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the USS Astoria (CA-34) steamed by USS Yorktown (CV-5), shortly after the carrier had been hit by three Japanese bombs in the Battle of Midway.  (U.S. Navy via AP, File)

The crew planned to deploy the AUV for another eight-hour mission where it will capture high-resolution sonar images of the site to measure the ship and confirm its identity, officials said.

GROUP SCOURS PACIFIC FOR SUNKEN WWII BATTLESHIPS, LOST WAR GRAVES

The finding came on the heels of last week’s discovery, another Japanese aircraft carrier, the Kaga, which U.S. forces also sank during the Battle of Midway in June 1942.

Until now, only one of the seven ships that went down in the air-and-sea battle — five Japanese vessels and two American ships — had been found.

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The crew of the research vessel Petrel was hoping to find and survey all lost ships from the 1942 Battle of Midway, which historians considered a pivotal fight for the U.S. in the Pacific during WWII.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.