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Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen just found a WWII aircraft carrier

The vessel took part in the first ever carrier-on-carrier battle.

A search team led by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, located the remains of the USS Lexington Monday, a U.S. aircraft carrier sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942.

The vessel was found after 76 years by the Research Vessel Petrel, an exploration ship owned by the billionaire. The Lexington was located 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia and two miles below the surface.

Dubbed the Lady Lex, the ship took part in the first ever carrier-on-carrier battle on May 4, 1942, fighting alongside the U.S.S. Yorktown against three Japanese carriers.


Some 216 sailors were lost in the battle. Having sustained serious damage, the ship was later scuttled by the U.S. Navy. Around 35 aircraft were also lost. Allen said that so far 11 of the aircraft had been located.

The U.S. Navy said the wreckage would not be recovered as the site is considered a war grave.

The search expedition took six months to plan, Allen said. After the team was given coordinates of the Lexington’s final resting place, it retrofitted the 250-foot vessel with subsea equipment that can reach depths up to three and a half miles.

Last year the team discovered the wreck of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, which sank in July 1945.

Cover image: This handout photograph photo obtained March 5, 2018 courtesy of Paul G. Allen shows wreckage from the USS Lexington, a US aircraft carrier which sank during World War II, that has been found in the Coral Sea. (DOUGLAS CURRAN/AFP/Getty Images)