LOS ANGELES – Some of the first video taken of the sunken battleship Musashi, newly discovered by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s exploration team, reveals that the vessel broke apart before coming to rest on the seafloor near the Philippines in 1944.
Footage of the wreck was shot last week by a remotely operated underwater vehicle exploring what remains of the World War II battleship, one of the largest ever built, at the bottom of the Sibuyan Sea.
The exploration team, sailing aboard Allen’s yacht, the M/Y Octopus, used historical records, detailed undersea topographical data and advanced technology to find and photograph the Japanese vessel on March 2, ending a decades-long mystery about the shipwreck’s exact location, according to his website.
The discovery attracted international attention because the Musashi and its sister ship, the Yamato, to this day rank as the heaviest and most heavily armed battleships ever built.
Historians had expressed interest in how much of the ship had remained intact.
The latest findings indicate the Musashi rests in multiple pieces on the seafloor, and the size of the debris field shows it broke up during its descent, a spokeswoman for Vulcan, a company founded by Allen that is handling the expedition, said Friday.
The impact of torpedoes caused the breakup, according to the spokeswoman, Alexa Rudin.
U.S. forces sank the Musashi on Oct. 24, 1944.
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