A Second World War aircraft carrier sunk during battle has been found off the coast of Australia by an expedition funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
The ship was found two miles below the ocean surface, more than 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia 76 years after its sinking.
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Allen – who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates – has invested billions in multiple environmental causes, but also bought and retrofitted the 250-foot research vessel Petrel with the intention of deploying it to find and survey historic warships.
Through his company Vulcan Inc, Allen has also launched aerospace firm Stratolaunch, which is developing an alternative craft for carrying payloads such as satellites to low Earth orbit.
The Petrel houses state-of-the-art subsea equipment that is capable of diving to around three-and-a-half miles deep, and has already helped locate other sunken warships, including the USS Indianapolis and USS Ward last year.
“To pay tribute to the USS Lexington and the brave men that served on her is an honor,” Allen said in a post on his website announcing the find.
“As Americans, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who served and who continue to serve our country for their courage, persistence and sacrifice.”
According to the subsea team, the Lexington, also known as “Lady Lex”, had been a priority find, having been described as “one of the capital ships lost during WWII”.