The Research Vessel R/V Petrel’s autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) first identified the ship in its side scan sonar on March 17. Upon analysis of the sonar data, the Petrel crew deployed its remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) on March 18 to verify the wreckage through its video capabilities.
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.
"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."
On 14 January 2019, the wreck of USS Wasp was located by the research vessel Petrel. The carrier sits upright in 4,345 meters (14,255 feet) of water, though parts of the hull appear to have split.
The USS Lexington was scuttled about 800 kilometres (500 miles) miles off the eastern coast of Australia in May 1942 after sustaining serious damage from Japanese aircraft. A series of secondary explosions after the Japanese attack sealed the ship's fate and one of her own escorting destroyers was ordered to finish off the crippled carrier.