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Wartime shipwreck found

THE wreck of the first American ship sunk during World War II has been located off Australia's southern coast, ocean researchers said yesterday.

The freighter MS City of Rayville, carrying a cargo of lead, wool and copper from South Australia to New York, hit a German mine and was lost on November 8, 1940, a year before the United States entered the war.

One sailor died in the sinking off Cape Otway in southeast Victoria state while 38 other crew were rescued.

Researchers mapping the seabed for Australia's Deakin University said they located the wreck almost 69 years after its sinking, lying upright on its keel and forming an artificial reef covered in marine life.

"A hatch cover near the stern is missing, consistent with reports that covers were blown off the hatches through the force of the explosion," maritime archaeologist Cassandra Philippou said.

The general location had been known since 2002, but the wreck was finally pinpointed using advanced sonar equipment.


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