http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/st ... 77,00.html
Chance find of WWI battleship
From correspondents in The Hague | February 20, 2009
Article from: Agence France-Presse
A FRENCH battleship torpedoed by a German submarine during World War I has been found by chance by a Dutch team working on a pipeline in the depths of the Mediterranean.
The Danton went down on March 19, 1917, with almost one-third of its 1000-strong crew as it made its way to the Greek island of Corfu from the French military harbour of Toulon.
More than 90 years later it was discovered in unlikely fashion by a team of Dutch geoscientists as they examined the sea bed to prepare for the construction of a gas pipeline between Algeria and Italy.
The Danton was found resting upright some 1000 metres below the surface, south of the Italian Mediterranean island of Sardinia.
It was discovered at the start of 2008, but the announcement could not be made until now because the ship had to be identified first by experts.
"It is a spectacular discovery because of the good condition of the wreck," Rob Luijnenburg from Fugro, the Dutch firm that made the discovery, said by phone from Milan, where the find was announced.
The 19,000 tonne, 150-metre-long gun turrets on the vessel remain intact, along with the grim remains of 296 naval personnel.
Mr Luijnenburg said it was "highly unlikely" the wreck could be brought to the surface. "It is too deep. No divers can reach that depth, only robots. I don't think it is feasible."
As for retrieving the human remains, "the French authorities will have to decide about that", he said.
The vessel, which first took to the water in 1910, formed part of the French Mediterranean fleet during World War I.
The remainder of the 1,000 crew are believed to have been saved by patrol boats that had been accompanying the battleship.
The planned pipeline had to be shifted some 100 metres to bypass the historic find, said Luijnenburg.
http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe ... _sardinia/
Includes a computer-enhanced, side-scan sonar image.
World War I ship found off Sardinia
ROME - The well-preserved wreck of a French battleship sunk by a German submarine during World War I has been discovered on the Mediterranean seabed off Sardinia, officials say.
The Danton, a 410-foot-long warship that was one of the largest French naval vessels of its time, was spotted by a company conducting an underwater survey for a gas pipeline between Algeria and Italy.
The Galsi pipeline builder said Thursday that the battleship was in "remarkable" condition, with many of its gun turrets still intact.
It said the Danton was upright under more than 1,000 yards of water on the Mediterranean seabed, 22 miles southwest of the Italian island of Sardinia.
The Rome-based Fugro Oceansismica first discovered the wreck while conducting a geophysical survey for the pipeline in late 2007. Its high-tech equipment allowed officials to construct a digital 3-dimensional model of the ship and the seabed.
Galsi said subsequent talks with French naval authorities confirmed the wreck was that of the Danton, which was built in Brest in 1910. The battleship sank with 296 sailors aboard in 1917.
Galsi says it will reroute the pipeline to keep it far from the wreck.
Photos, drawings and ship's history.