A sunken German U-boat was discovered off Nantucket, almost 70 years after it was sunk by the USS Joyce in a fierce attack.
The German submarine torpedoed an American tanker in April 1944 in the waters off Nantucket, and attempted to hide beneath the sinking ship to avoid detection, reports Boston.com.
The flagship USS Joyce, however, delivered a massive depth charge attack that forced the German sub to the surface. After a fierce battle, the US ships forced the German crew to abandon the U-boat, scuttling it before their escape, at the cost of 45 German lives.
The U-550 submarine sank stern first, laying at the bottom of the ocean until crews discovered it earlier this week. The wreck, located about 70 miles south of Nantucket, is one of the last undiscovered German warships that sank along the eastern seaboard. Joe Mazraani, a shipwreck diver from New Jersey, stated:
“They’ve looked for it for over 20 years. It’s another World War II mystery solved.”
The crew of seven announced their find on Friday, adding that they will be returning to document the wreck site soon. The find comes after the crew searched 100 square miles of ocean floor, using sonar to survey the ocean bottom. The crew members likened the search for the German U-boat to “mowing the lawn,” as the ship traveled at five knots, scanning the vast expanse of sea.
Mazraani, speaking about the discovery, which came as the crew thought their search would end in vain, stated:
“It was jubilation. We were jumping up and down, giving each other high-fives. It was awesome.”
According to The Boston Herald, sonar operator Garry Kozak was the first to spot the 252-foot U-550 submarine. When the team asked if they’d found it, Kozak stated they didn’t even need a response from him. He recalled, “They could see it with the grin (on my face) and the look in my eyes.”
The German submarine has been a difficult find, because military precision of the battle was imprecise, giving searchers only a general idea of where the U-550 was when it sank. The team plans to go back to the site soon, to do more research and take additional pictures.