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WWII Australian freighter sunk by Japanese submarine discovered

This image taken by a maritime research team shows the intact bow of the SS Iron Crown, which was sunk by a Japanese submarine during World War II. (Photo courtesy of CSIRO/Kyodo)

SYDNEY (Kyodo) -- An Australian freighter sunk by a Japanese submarine during World War II was located by Australian researchers after being lost for 77 years, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization said Tuesday.

The 100-meter-long SS Iron Crown sank in less than a minute when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on June 4, 1942, off the southeastern coast of Australia, the research group said in a statement.

Of the 43 crew members on board, 38 lost their lives.

Emily Jateff, chief scientist on board the research vessel "Investigator," which was used to locate the shipwreck, said in a statement that the team is honored to have discovered the wartime relic.

"The fact that so many lives were lost in the sinking of Iron Crown was something that hit home with all scientists, staff and ship crew working on board Investigator," the Australian National Maritime Museum scientist said.

Using sonar equipment and a special drop camera, Jateff's team has concluded that the SS Iron Crown sits "relatively intact" and upright on the seafloor, roughly 100 kilometers off the coast of Victoria.

"We have mapped the site and surrounding seafloor using sonar but have also taken a lot of close up vision of the ship structure using a drop camera," she said, explaining that the data will be used to create a composite image of the site to assist in further research and conservation efforts.

Footage taken by the research team show many features of the ship remain intact including the bow of the ship, with railings, anchor chains and both anchors still in position.

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