An expedition led by yacht owner Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, has discovered the USS Lexington, one of the United States’ first aircraft carriers. She foundered in the Battle of the Coral Sea against Japanese carriers in May 1942 during World War II. Down with her were 216 of her nearly 3,000 crew and 35 aircraft.
Known as Lady Lex, the carrier’s wreckage was found March 4 on the floor of the Coral Sea more than 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia in about 3,000m of water.
Allen has led other historical deep-sea finds in recent years. In March 2015, an expedition aboard his M/Y Octopus, a 414-foot (126m) Lurssen, discovered the wreck of the Musashi, one of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced battleships in naval history. The Japanese battleship was sunk by American forces off the coast of the Philippines on Oct. 24, 1944.
In August 2015, another expedition aboard M/Y Octopus recovered the bell of Britain’s flagship battleship HMS Hood, which was sunk in the North Atlantic during World War II.
Allen has since acquired and refit a 250-foot vessel into R/V Petrel. According to his website, it is equipped with state-of-the-art subsea equipment capable of diving to 6,000m. Allen’s expedition team transferred to R/V Petrel in 2016 with a specific mission around research, exploration and survey of historic warships and other important artifacts.
Allen-led expeditions have also resulted in the discovery of the USS Indianapolis (August 2017), USS Ward (November 2017), USS Astoria (February 2015), and the Italian WWII destroyer Artigliere (March 2017).
For more about Allen’s USS Lexington discovery, click here.
For more information about the history of the Lady Lex, click here.