The late Paul Allen’s sea exploration venture has found another World War II aircraft carrier, his investment company Vulcan Inc. announced Wednesday.
On January 14, crew on board the R/V Petrel discovered the USS Wasp (CV-7), which sank in the Coral Sea off the northeastern coast of Australia over 75 years ago.
“The Wasp was one of our primary targets that we had established with Mr. Allen quite some time ago, and it was kind of at the top of the list, because it’s one of the capital ships, and it had a lot of aircraft on it,” said Robert Kraft, Vulcan director of subsea operations.
Researchers found the aircraft carrier nearly 14,000 feet below the surface.
The USS Wasp sunk on September 15, 1942 by four Japanese torpedoes while escorting reinforcements to Guadalcanal.
Even after the ship caught fire, Vulcan reports the men didn’t want to leave until all crewmates were safe. Captain Forrest P. Sherman finally abandoned the ship after he was satisfied it had been abandoned.
Of the 2,162 people on board, 176 were killed.
Before it sank, the USS Wasp carried other military significance as well. It was the first ship to launch U.S. Army planes from a U.S. Navy carrier, ferried army planes to Iceland in 1941, and helped two missions to Malta, which was hit daily by German and Italian planes.
So far the R/V Petrel has located 23 long-lost military vessels. That includes the USS Hornet, an aircraft carrier that was found in January in the South Pacific over 17,700 feet deep, and the USS Indianapolis, a heavy cruiser that was discovered in 2017 in the North Pacific over 18,000 feet deep.
The USS Wasp is the third deepest vessel R/V Petrel has found.