The wreck of a French Navy submarine that disappeared in the Mediterranean in 1968 has been found, ending a 51-year mystery.
The Minerve vanished on Jan. 27, 1968 with the loss of her 52-strong crew. Officials announced Tuesday that the wreck of the Daphne-class submarine was discovered off France’s Var coast.
“We have just found the Minerve,” tweeted French defense minister Florence Parly on Tuesday. “It's a success, a relief and a technical feat. I think of the families who have been waiting for this moment so long.”
Agence France Presse reports that the sub was discovered 18.5 nautical miles (21.3 miles) off Toulon, which is France’s main naval base. The sub has broken into three pieces on the seabed at a depth of 7,776 feet, according to AFP.
The French Navy, the French Research Institute for Sea Exploration (Ifremer) and the ship Seabed Constructor, which is operated by U.S. exploration company Ocean Infinity, all took part in the search for the sub.
“Our thoughts go out to the families of the 52 missing sailors,” tweeted the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Admiral Christophe Prazuck tweeted an image of the submarine’s wreck on the seabed. The sub’s name is clearly visible in red letters on the mangled hull. “Here rest our 52 comrades who disappeared on January 27, 1968,” he wrote.
Just over two years after the Minerve’s disappearance, another Daphne-class French submarine, Eurydice, was lost off France’s Mediterranean coast. The New York Times writes that an explosion was reported during a practice dive in calm seas off Cape Camarot. The sub’s 57-strong crew all died in the disaster.
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