Wrecks of two WW2 Japanese aircraft carriers found

Wrecks of two WW2 Japanese aircraft carriers found

Deep sea explorers aboard Research Vessel Petrel have found two Japanese aircraft carriers that were sunk in battle in the Battle of Midway during World War Two.

The Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi pictured underway in the Summer of 1941.

This month's discoveries came after weeks of searching by crew members based on the research vessel Petrel. The vessel is owned by Vulcan Inc, a company created by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

One ship, the Kaga, was discovered last week, while wreckage from another carrier, Akagi, was found on Sunday, Vulcan Inc. said in a press release.

The carriers were among seven ships that went down in the Battle of Midway, a major air and sea battle fought between the US and Japan in 1942 that killed 3,057 Japanese and 307 Americans. Along with Kaga, three other Japanese fleet carriers—Akagi, Sōryū and Hiryū—were sunk during the battle. The Battle of Midway took place six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. After the attack, the Imperial Japanese Navy planned to invade and capture Midway Island by luring American aircraft carriers into an ambush.

The ruins of Akagi were found in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, resting more than 17,000 feet below the surface of the Central Pacific ocean about 1,300 miles northwest of Pearl Harbor, the press release said.  The crew aboard the Petrel determined the ruins belonged to Akagi by taking sonar images identified by the vessel and matching them with the dimensions and location of the lost warship.

"Every shipwreck we find reminds us all of the ultimate sacrifice made by those who served their countries," said Robert Kraft, Vulcan Inc.'s director of undersea operations, in a press release. "Our team is truly honored to have discovered the Japanese Flagship Carrier, Akagi."