The bow of the World War II submarine USS Grunion has been discovered 77 years after the sub went missing off the remote Aleutian Islands in Alaska on her first war patrol.
The Gato-class submarine (SS 216) was sent to the islands in June 1942, according to the Lost 52 Project, which locates lost U.S. World War II submarines. Operating off the island of Kiska with a crew of 70 sailors, the Grunion sank two Japanese patrol boats before being ordered back to base in Dutch Harbor on Amaknak Island on July 30.
But the submarine, which reported heavy antisubmarine activity during its final transmission, was never heard from again. Declared overdue from patrol, the Grunion was assumed lost with all hands on Oct. 5, 1942.
Almost 80 years later, the bow was discovered in 2,713 feet of water near Kiska by underwater drones and sophisticated photogrammetry imaging. The discovery completes another piece in the puzzle of the Grunion's fate.
The main wreckage of the sub was found in August 2007, thanks to the efforts of John, Bruce and Brad Abele, sons of the Grunion's captain, Mannert Abele. The wreck was verified by the U.S. Navy in October 2008.
The latest discovery was made a short distance from the main wreck, with researchers noting that the bow is resting on a volcanic slope on the seabed.