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A Lost Sub That Just Couldn't Be Found Is Discovered

The Minerve's wreckage is identified about 30 miles off the coast of France
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2019 3:55 PM CDT
Updated Jul 23, 2019 1:03 AM CDT
The Minerve was found some 30 miles off Toulon, on France's south coast.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – After fruitless searching over five decades, the resting place of a vanished French submarine has been found. "We have just found the Minerva," the country's defense minister tweeted Monday per the BBC, which translated from the French. "It's a success, a relief and a technical feat. I think of the families who have been waiting for this moment so long." Florence Parly had in early 2019 said a new search effort was being staged after a new push from family members of the 52 sailors who went missing along with the sub on January 17, 1968. Their last known location was near the French port of Toulon, and the wreckage was ultimately found Sunday in the Mediterranean, some 30 miles from that port at a depth of 7,800 feet.

The AFP explains the work that has been undertaken this year involved a new analysis and modeling of tides, currents, and seismic reports that could correlate with an implosion. The find was made by the Seabed Constructor, an underwater-drone-equipped search ship owned by the US-based Ocean Infinity. What befell the Minerve has never been revealed, though the Guardian reports it is known the vessel sank in four minutes. Theories range from a collision to a torpedo hit to a rudder issue. There is some hope that the find will provide the answer, though a rep for Mediterranean’s Maritime Prefecture says that won't be so: "The most important thing was to locate the Minerve to help families grieve," he said, per the New York Times. "We won’t try to understand how it sank." (The Seabed Constructor has been involved in another big search.)

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