Wreckage of war ship found in Coral Sea
Wreckage from the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier that sank during the Battle of the Coral Sea with Japanese forces during World War 2, has been found three kilometres beneath the sea surface and about 800 kilometres off the eastern coast of Australia.
The badly damaged ship, nicknamed ‘Lady Lex’, was scuttled after the battle in May 1942. More than 200 crew died in the battle, but another 2770 were rescued before the Lexington went down, along with 35 aircraft.
One of the most remarkable elements of the discovery is well-preserved aircraft (pictured), bearing US Army Air Force insignia on their wings and fuselage.
On one aircraft, an emblem of the cartoon character Felix the Cat can be seen, along with four miniature Japanese flags presumably depicting ‘kills’.
The ship took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea with the USS Yorktown against three Japanese carriers, the first carrier versus carrier battle in history.
A month after the Lexington was sunk, the US Navy surprised Japanese forces at the Battle of Midway and turned the tide of the war in the Pacific.
The wreckage was found by a team funded by Microsoft cofounder and billionaire, Paul Allen, on board a research vessel, Petrel.
Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Allen, says finding the Lexington was a priority because she was one of the capital ships that was lost during World War 2. ■