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WW II aircraft carrier found more than 75 years after it sank in the South Pacific

A research vessel funded by the late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen has discovered the wreckage of an American aircraft carrier sunk in the South Pacific during World War II.

USS Hornet was best known for launching the first air attack on Japan

A five-inch gun on the wreckage of USS Hornet. A research vessel funded by the late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen has discovered the wreckage of the aircraft carrier sunk in the South Pacific during World War II. (Paul G. Allen/Vulcan Inc./Associated Press)

A research vessel funded by the late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen has discovered the wreckage of an American aircraft carrier sunk in the South Pacific during World War II.

Allen's Vulcan Inc. says an autonomous submarine sent by the crew of the research vessel Petrel found USS Hornet nearly 5,400 metres deep near the Solomon Islands.

The Hornet was best known for its part in the Doolittle Raid in April 1942, the first air attack on Japan, and the Battle of Midway.  

The ship suffered severe damage from Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in October 1942. Most of the crew of 2,170 men had been evacuated by the time it sank, but 140 sailors died. 

This photo provided by Vulcan Inc. shows an F4F-4 Wildcat with wings folded at the wreckage. (Paul G. Allen/Vulcan Inc./Associated Press)

The wreckage was first located late last month. According to the mission's website, the 10-person team used data from national and naval archives to guide the search. They had information from nine other U.S. warships that had logged sightings and positions of the Hornet late in the battle. 

Vulcan project has located about 20 vessels.

An International Harvester aircraft tug sits upright on the wreckage. (Paul G. Allen/Vulcan Inc./Associated Press)

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