NOAA explores WWII Japanese mini submarines near Pearl Harbor

There was a new look at two sunken Japanese mini submarines that went down near Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

NOAA used an underwater robot to stream a live look at the mini subs.

On Dec. 7, 1941, patrol crews spotted one of the subs trying to enter the harbor. It fired at the USS Ward, which then fired back, sinking it.

This happened 90 minutes before Japan’s aerial attack on Pearl Harbor.

The second submarine that was seen disappeared that morning, also before the attack. It was discovered in shallow waters in 1951, raised by the Navy, taken to deeper waters and dumped.

“That notification of that attack wasn’t enough to sound the general alarms. It was still quite a surprise when the planes arrived. Their mission was to sneak in Pearl Harbor and coordinate their attacks with the arrival of the aircraft on Dec. 7. So this is a very historic property. What we’re doing is not only appreciating that history and sharing that site with the public, but monitoring the status of this property over time. There have been changes. Everything falls apart slowly in the ocean,” said Hans Van Tilburg of NOAA.

The 78-foot-long mini submarines were among five launched by a Japanese mother ship.

Wednesday’s underwater live stream is the first time the public has seen the submarines’ condition.

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