30 Dec 2008

WWII shipwreck found

11:37 am on 30 December 2008

One of the first ships sunk in Australian waters during World War II has been found off the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory.

Four people died when the steamship USS Florence D, packed with explosives, was sunk by Japanese bombers on their way to begin the first attack on Darwin in February 1942.

Earlier, the ship had rescued the crew of a flying boat, shot down by Japanese Zero fighters.

The surviving crew members then made their way in life rafts to nearby Bathurst Island where they were marooned for four days.

After months of research, divers say they have found the freighter 66 years later, in murky waters, 85 nautical miles north-west of Darwin.

The ABC reports heritage officers will visit the site in the coming months to officially confirm the discovery.