CANBERRA, Australia - An Australian naval vessel sunk with all hands in 1941 has been discovered off the west coast, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced Sunday.
The wreck of the HMAS Sydney was 12 miles from the wreck of the Kormoran, a German raider, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The two vessels fought each other in November 1941 in a battle fatal to both.
The government planned to issue an interim order protecting both wrecks, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Rudd called the discovery "a historic day for all Australians and a sad day for all Australians."
Wayne Fisher, whose great-uncle Lindsay Rove was a stoker on the Sydney, said he hoped the bodies of the 645 crew members could be retrieved for burial.
"My grandmother always lamented that her brother never came back, she lamented until her dying days that he never received a Christian burial," Fisher told the Herald. "She passed away talking and crying about it. Perhaps now this will happen.''
Vice Admiral Russ Shalders said that high-resolution sonar was used to confirm that the wreck was the Sydney.
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