First Allied submarine lost in World War One, found near New Guinea

Wreck of Australia's first submarine found 103 years on

Wreck of Australia's first submarine found 103 years on

The submarine was lost off the coast of Papua New Guinea, along with all 35 crew members, in September 1914. But as the Sydney Morning Herald reports, it seems the 13th time's the charm.

HMAS AE1 was found in in more than 300 metres of water off the Duke of York Islands in PNG by the search vessel Furgo Equator.

While searching for the submarine near Papua New Guinea this week, the search vessel Fugro Equator spotted an object almost 1,000 feet (300 meters) underwater.

"It was the first loss for the RAN and the first Allied submarine loss in World War I - a significant tragedy felt by our nation and our allies", Payne said in a statement.

It was the first Allied submarine loss of the war and the first wartime loss for the Royal Australian Navy. The 54.86m-long (55 meters) sub was found resting under almost 1,000 feet (300 meters) of water.

HMAS AE-1, the Royal Australian Navy's first submarine, went down mysteriously in September 1914. A combination of radio scans and up-close inspections by a submersible confirmed the identity of the wreck.

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"I truly believe this will bring peace of mind to the family and descendants of the crew who lost their lives onboard and perhaps, in time, we may discover what caused the submarine to sink", Payne said.

AE1 joined naval forces assigned to the capture of the German Pacific colonies and with AE2 took part in operations leading to the occupation of German New Guinea - the northeastern part of the island of New Guinea.

As Payne noted, the reason for the sinking is still unknown. The expedition was embarked on the survey ship Fugro Equator which is equipped with advanced search technology. Also, because no oil, wreckage, or bodies were found, it was assumed the sub sank intact - an assumption that proved correct.

The first image of the submarine in its current state appears to show it still in one piece.

Rear Admiral Peter Briggs told The Australian newspaper the most likely cause of the loss "remains a diving accident".

The Australian government will discuss with the Papua New Guinean government a lasting commemoration and recognition of the crew of AE1 and ways to preserve the site.

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