Disappeared more than 50 years ago, the submarine La Minerve was found
The wreck of the attack submarine La Minerve, disappeared on January 27, 1968 off Toulon with its 52 crew members, was found off the Var harbor. The searches were restarted in early July.
It's a mystery finally solved. After more than fifty years of waiting, the wreck of the French submarine La Minerve, disappeared in 1968 with 52 men on board, has finally been found in the Mediterranean Sea.
"I welcome the discovery of the wreck of the submarine La Minerve, located about 2,400 meters deep, 45 kilometers off Toulon," announced Monday, July 22 in a statement the Minister of Arms Florence Parly. "This campaign has been revived thanks to recent technological advances in underwater exploration, including the use of new sonars and research drones."
We have just found the Minerva. It's a success, a relief and a technical feat. I think of the families who have been waiting for this moment so long. pic.twitter.com/pjDnj7lEybFlorence Parly (@florence_parly) July 22, 2019
At the request of families, the government decided in late 2018 to resume research using the most modern technologies, including autonomous submarines. A new research campaign had begun at the beginning of July off Toulon. The wreck was located 45 kilometers by the US ship Seabed Constructor, arrived last Tuesday to participate in research, and whose drones have provided visual confirmation of the location of La Minerve. This ship had already found the wreck of the submarine San Juan, disappeared off Argentina in November 2018, with 44 men on board.
On January 27, 1968, La Minerve, in practice at about thirty kilometers off Toulon with 52 men on board, had sunk in only four minutes. In spite of the relief operations immediately undertaken, the wreckage had never been located before. Multiple causes have been mentioned to explain the accident: a failure of the two rear bars, a collision with a boat, the explosion of a missile, a torpedo or an accident of the aeration tube.
The minister hopes that this discovery, fifty years later, will help the families of these sailors to "mourn". They "now know where their loved ones are," she wrote in her statement. A memorial ceremony at sea will be organized soon with the families.
With AFP and Reuters