Lost World War I Submarine Discovered Off Papua New Guinea

Islanders spoke of an undersea monster.

Early on during World War I, the Australian submarine AEI disappeared without a trace off the coast of New Guinea. The ship had a crew of 18 Australians, 16 Britons and a New Zealander and it was the first allied sub lost in the conflict. It was never found, until now. More than a century later, the wreckage has been discovered on the sea floor by the same undersea team who scoured the Indian Ocean for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The wreck was found near the town of Rabaul in present-day Papua New Guinea. The boat was part of a naval task force sent to capture the then colony of Germany New Guinea and Rabaul harbor on Sept. 13, 1914. But it was separated from an escort vessel a day later during a heavy tropical fog and was never seen again. Historians wondered if maybe it had hit a reef because there was no oil slick or bodies point to it being sunk by the enemy. The cause is still a mystery, despite the ship being found. The loss of the sub hit Australia hard in more ways than one because the 181-foot boat, which was armed with four torpedo tubes, was the first purchased by the new nation’s government after its 1901 federation.

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