Ghostly new footage shows fascinating details from WWII shipwrecks
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Chilling new footage of historic World War II wrecks have been made public following a 27-day expedition - with one of the ships being seen for the first time since it sunk more than 80 years ago.
The Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) recently led a team aboard the Explorational Vessel Nautilus and had the ‘honour and privilege’ of conducting an ‘in-depth archaeological assessment’ of three sunken WWII aircraft carriers off the coast of Hawaii.
The aim of the mission was to explore never-before-seen, deep-water habitats and record footage from the historic 1942 Battle of Midway battleground.
During a 27-day expedition in one of the United States’ most protected areas, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, the team spotted the USS Yorktown and the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Akagi and Kaga.
The Akagi was first located during a mapping survey conducted by Vulcan, Inc. and the US Navy in 2019.
The newly-released footage is the first time that the Japanese aircraft carrier has been seen since it sank in 1942.
Alongside the Akagi and Kaga, the USS Yorktown shipwreck was also found and filmed.
The USS Yorktown shipwreck was previously discovered in 1998, during a joint US Navy and National Geographic Society expedition led by Dr. Robert Ballard, president and founder of OET.
However, like the aircraft, this is the first time the ship has been seen in ‘real time’ since its sinking.
Almost 3,400 sailors and airmen who died during the Battle of Midway.
The OET said the footage and surveys were to document the wreckages and honour those who died in the war.
Regarding the team’s recent findings, Dr. Daniel Wagner, chief scientist for the OET, said: “This expedition is not only rewriting history and our understanding of these special places but also pushing the limits of what we thought was possible in terms of interdisciplinary collaboration.
“During over 43 hours at depth, we methodically circumnavigated these historic wrecks, bringing to light many features in great detail, including their armament, battle, and sinking-related damage.”
Dr Wagner said many anti-aircraft guns were found to be ‘pointing up’, thus ‘providing clues’ about what truly went down during the WWII battle.
Each dive 'launched and closed with protocol ceremonies to honour this place and all who lost their lives in ways that reflected their significance to Kānaka ʻOiwi (Native Hawaiian), Japanese, and US military families and communities'.
Elsewhere, it was revealed that work to document the wrecks was completed by archaeologists from Japan, the US and across the world.
Speaking about the collaborative research effort, Kosei Nomura, a minister at the Japanese embassy in Washington, said: “On this occasion, we meet on those same Pacific waters in which Japan and the US once met in battle, but this time as allies and fellow researchers.
“We are reminded that today’s peace and tomorrow’s discoveries are built on the sacrifices of war, and so in my view, it is meaningful that Japan and the US are now deepening their cooperation at Midway, utilising such cutting-edge technology.”
You can find all the footage collected from the deep sea dives on EVNautilus’ official YouTube channel.