A U.S. Navy submarine that was bombed during a Word War II mission in 1944 and had been missing ever since was finally found near the coast of Japan, giving some sense of closure to the families of the 80 sailors who presumably died aboard the vessel that day.
A team of ocean explorers confirmed Sunday that the USS Grayback, one of the most successful U.S. submarines during the war, was discovered about 50 nautical miles south of Okinawa back in June.
The group, led by undersea explorer Tim Taylor, spent the past few months searching for relatives of the crew, he told ABC News.
The Grayback sailed out from Pearl Harbor toward the East China Sea on Jan. 28, 1944 and sank at least two Japanese cargo ships in its path, according to the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command. It was due to return on March 7 of that year, but it never did.
The submarine had been attacked about two weeks earlier and "exploded and sank immediately," according to Japanese reports cited by the Navy. Japan apparently struck the submarine with a 500-pound bomb.
This was the fifth submarine discovered by Taylor's Lost 52 Project, which aims to find the 52 U.S. submarines that were lost in World War II.
The location of the vessel remained unsolved for so long because of one wrong digit. A 1949 document with approximate locations for each missing submarine was translated from Japanese into English with one digit wrong in the longitude and latitude of the site the Grayback was believed to have sunk, The New York Times reported. The error was reportedly detected last year by an amateur researcher.
The submarine was destroyed in its 10th and most successful patrol, in which it had sunk more than 21,000 tons of shipping belonging to enemy forces, according to the Navy.
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