Science

[VIDEO] Japanese World War II 'Megasubmarine' Wreck Rediscovered in Hawaii

By | Apr 30, 2015 06:04 AM EDT
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World War II-era Imperial Japanese Navy mega-submarine I-400 hangar door

World War II-era Imperial Japanese Navy mega-submarine I-400 hangar door(Photo : University of Hawaii)

Researchers reveal that they have mapped out and captured photos and video of a World War II Japanese megasubmarine wreckage under the ocean, so huge that a hangar was found inside that can contain plane bombers.

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This particular I-400 submarine was built for the Imperial Japanese Navy and was discovered in December 2013 by scientists from the University of Hawaii and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Researchers have returned to the site located off the coast of Oahu as part of a project by Japan's Broadcasting Corporation, NHK. This project involves finding key parts and pieces of the I-400 for footage for a television documentary meant to be aired this May.

Researchers went on dive excursions to map the wreck and capture never before seen details and video of the submarine's aircraft hangar that can contain three aircrafts that can be launched when the submarine is above surface including its conning tower.

This submarine was sunk on purpose by the U.S. Navy towards the end of the war near Pearl Harbor waters so that the Soviet Union won't be able to get their hands on Japanese designs and technology.

The exact location of the submarine has been forgotten until it was detected again during a 2013 search deep below 2,300 feet of water. According to Terry Kerby of the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, the I-400 was on the team's list of "to-find" for quite some time now, and this special submarine is only one of three that was ever built during that time therefore it holds historic significance. 

He adds that there was not enough details of the mapping data in order to locate the hangar, conning tower and other important submarine features from the wreck of the I-400. He says, we were also alotted one dive day to hunt for everything and there could be a great chance that the dive can result in looking at a barren bottom of the ocean.

However, divers found the hangar and the wreck of the main hull including the conning tower with the submarine's bell that was blasted off from the explosion when the submarine was sunk.

The submarine measures 400 feet in length which spans longer than a football field and it was apparently the biggest sub ever built prior to nuclear powered submarines in the 1960s.

Its best feature includes a deck mounted aircraft hangar where three folding wing floatplanes can be launched as the sub resurfaced within minutes from the ocean.

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