For 103 years after the disappearance of Australia’s AE1 submarine, nobody could find a single trace of the ship. The sub disappeared off the coast of Papua New Guinea during World War I, and 13 separate retrieval missions over the decades turned up nothing. Many believed that the sub would be lost forever, but just this week an expedition .
The HMAS AE1 had been sent to capture what was then German New Guinea in 1914. A day after Germany surrendered the colony, the ship disappeared without even sending a distress signal.
It wasn’t until last week, when a joint expedition between the Royal Australian Navy and a number of private groups spotted an “object of interest” over 900 feet below sea level off the coast of Duke of York Island in Papua New Guinea. Further examination revealed that it was AE1.
While the cause of the wreck has not yet been determined, a cursory examination seems to suggest that the cause was most likely a diving accident. “The submarine appears to have struck the bottom with sufficient force to dislodge the fin from its footing, forcing it to hinge forward on its leading edge, impacting the casing,” , who was part of the search.
Now that the submarine has finally been located, the government is reaching out to the descendants of the crew and starting a formal investigation into what happened. So 103 years later, this mystery is finally drawing to a close.