11 Jan 2010

Sunken hospital ship filmed

7:05 am on 11 January 2010

An Australian hospital ship has been seen for the first time since it sank in World War II with the loss of 268 lives.

Images of the Centaur, more than 2km below the surface, were taken by a remote-controlled underwater camera.

The BBC reports the ship's location was discovered last month. Australia says the ship, which went down in May 1943, was torpedoed by the Japanese. Japan says the circumstances surrounding its sinking are unclear.

A search team found the Centaur on 20 December off the Queensland coast, about 30 miles due east of the southern tip of Moreton Island.

Favourable conditions allowed the crew to send down a camera on a remotely-operated submersible vehicle over the weekend. Further dives are planned.

Of the 332 people on the ship, only 64 survived. Eleven of the 12 nurses on board died.