A World War I A German U-boat submarine that had been lost in American seas 100 years prior has been discovered.
National Geographic reported that on September 5, maritime historian, shipwreck researcher, and technical wreck diver Erik Petkovic located the U-boat, designated U-111, 40 miles off the Virginia coast.
The U-111 was sunk off the coast of Virginia by the U.S. Navy in 1922, dropping to the seabed at what was believed to be a depth of 1,600 feet. It was the last German submarine from World War I to be found in American waters. Oddly, Petkovic found it in waters that were just 400 feet deep.
Eight German submarines from World War II and five more from World War I have both been discovered in American seas; the U-111, the only submarine known to have been sunk off the American shore, has yet to be located.
Since the Navy stated that it sank in more than 1,600 feet of water, experts felt it was too deep to reach.
In addition to the depth, metals corrode and rust more quickly in seawater, therefore shipwrecks and submarines decompose quickly in the ocean. Additionally, boring worms and other deep-sea organisms frequently quickly consume any wood that is present.
In order to locate the unknown wreck, Pekovic and his friend Rusty Cassway initially used his 45-foot R/V Explorer diving boat. They then used a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) to locate the U-boat at a location where they thought the wreckage would be.
When the crew compared what the ROV discovered to images of the U-111, they saw a match. They made the choice to return on September 5—Labor Day—to obtain further data utilising the ROV and extra technical divers.
Only technical divers with the necessary training should dive in such deep waters because it is extremely perilous to do so. The divers could only spend 20 minutes exploring the wreck before having to spend four hours ascending to the surface to avoid getting "the bends" or decompression sickness.
If a diver ascends too quickly from a depth, dissolved gases in their blood and tissues might bubble up and cause bends, which can result in joint pain, rashes, paralysis, and even death. The risk of the bends increases with depth, and the diver must spend more time rising to avoid it.