A private search vessel has located a French submarine that went missing in the western Mediterranean in 1968. Officials are hopes that the mystery over the disappearance can finally be solved.
“It’s a success, a relief and a technical feat,” Defence Minister Florence Parly wrote on Twitter, after the wreck was discovered off the southern French port of Toulon.
“I am thinking of the families who have waited for this moment for so long.”
The Minerve submarine was lost off France’s southern coast with 52 sailors on board on January 17, 1968.
Despite multiple search efforts over the years, it had never been found. But the discovery was ultimately made by a boat belonging to private US company Ocean Infinity, which found the Minerve 45 kilometres (30 miles) from Toulon at a depth of 2,370 metres (7,800 feet), according to a senior French naval officer.
The cause of the accident involving the Minerve has never been announced.
Experts have speculated that it could have been due to a problem with its rudder, a collision with another boat, the explosion of a missile or torpedo, or a fault with its oxygen supply systems.