1 Mar 2007

Missing Australian submarine could be in PNG waters

7:59 pm on 1 March 2007

Australia's first submarine, missing with all hands since the start of World War I, may have been found in Papua New Guinea waters.

The Australian veterans affairs minister, Bruce Billson, says he is cautiously optimistic an object detected by the Australian navy survey ship, HMAS Benalla, on the sea floor off the island of New Britain was the wreckage of AE1.

But he says it is early days.

In a statement the minister says further investigation using a remotely operated vehicle with imaging capabilities will be needed to positively identify the object.

The disappearance of AE1 with all 35 crewmen was Australia's first major loss of World War I.