French submarine lost in 1968 located in Mediterranean

PARIS (AFP) – A private search vessel has located a French submarine that went missing in the western Mediterranean more than 50 years ago, officials said yesterday, raising hopes the mystery over the disappearance can finally be solved.

“It’s a success, a relief and a technical feat,” Defence Minister Florence Parly wrote on Twitter, after the wreck was discovered off the southern French port of Toulon.

“I am thinking of the families who have waited for this moment for so long.”

The Minerve submarine was lost off France’s southern coast with 52 sailors on board on January 17, 1968. Despite multiple search efforts over the years, it had never been found.

Parly announced a new search mission at the beginning of 2019, backed by the latest technology and naval vessels, following fresh demands from the families of deceased sailors to find the remains of their loved ones.

Tides and currents in the western Mediterranean were modelled by the team, while data from the time of the accident was also re-analysed, including seismic reports indicating the likely implosion of the vessel as it dropped to the seabed.