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Wreckage of sunken Australian ship found after 66 yrs

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The Australian ship during World War-II.

SYDNEY (AFP): An Australian hospital ship, which was torpedoed in World War II and sank with the loss of 268 lives, was seen for the first time in 66 years when a remote-control camera captured footage of the wreck.

The clearly-marked Centaur was lost on May 14, 1943 and only found off Australia's northeast coast last month when a high-tech search uncovered it at a depth of 2,059 metres (1.3 miles).

Search director David Mearns said he hoped the photographic proof would remove all doubt and “hopefully end a 66-year quest for unanswered questions and bring comfort to many families across Australia and beyond.”

“The wreck was found leaning over towards its port side at an angle of approximately 25 degrees and the bow is almost completely severed from the rest of the hull in the area where the single torpedo hit,” he said.

“Although the wreck is very badly damaged, characteristic markings and features that identify the wreck as the Centaur were clearly visible.”

Australia believes the ship was struck without warning by a Japanese submarine but Japan says the circumstances around the sinking are unclear.

Among the distinctive features revealed Sunday by the remotely-operated submersible vehicle equipped with a camera are the large red cross on both sides of the bow and the number 47 that designated the vessel as Australian Hospital Ship 47.

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