The wreck of the Lexington, an American World War II aircraft sunk by the Japanese in the Coral Sea in 1942, was located by a team researchers funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
The wreck, which lies at a depth of 3,000 meters, was discovered Sunday by the billionaire’s research vessel, the R/V Petrel, some 800 kilometers off the east coast of Australia.
Paul Allen’s team posted photos and videos showing the wreck of the USS Lexington, one of the first in a long line of aircraft carriers, whose wrecks are particularly well preserved despite their 76 years at the bottom of the ocean.
On one of the aircraft, a drawing of Felix the Cat beside which can be seen four Japanese flags, probably to mark as the tradition requires, the number of enemy devices shot down.
A total of 35 aircraft were loaded on the USS Lexington and Paul Allen’s team said they had spotted eleven.
The images also show a plate and anti-aircraft guns.
The battle of the Coral Sea, conducted between May 4 and 8, 1942, was the first between aircraft carriers .
The Lexington, fondly nicknamed “Lady Lex”, was so damaged that the Americans decided to scuttle it at the end of the battle, which claimed the lives of more than 200 crew members. The survivors were evacuated to other vessels before the scuttling.
By coincidence, the father of Admiral Harry Harris, who currently commands all American forces in the Pacific, was one of those evacuees. The admiral, who is expected to become the US ambassador to Australia, paid tribute to Allen’s team.
“We honor the courage and sacrifice of the sailors of ‘Lady Lex’ — and of all those who fought during the Second World War — by continuing to guarantee the freedom they have defended for us all,” he said.
The battle of the Coral Sea is considered by historians as a strategic victory for the Americans, despite heavy losses. For the first time, the Japanese empire was forced to stop its expansion.
The United States will win a decisive victory a month later during the Battle of Midway.