Photo/IllutrationThe Imperial Japanese Navy’s battleship Hiei’s high-angle guns lie on the seabed off Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon Islands, in the South Pacific. (Provided by Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc.)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

SYDNEY--U.S. researchers have located the wreck of the Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Hiei that escorted carriers for the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.

A team aboard the research vessel Petrel used by Paul Allen, the late co-founder of Microsoft Corp., found the partially intact wreck on Jan. 31 at a depth of 985 meters northwest of Guadalcanal, the largest of the Solomon Islands and the site of fierce fighting in the Pacific War.

Footage taken by the team shows that the 222-meter-long battleship sheared in two when it sank. Only the stern portion, measuring 150 meters, was found. The other debris field has not been located.

The team also discovered the Hiei's massive propeller and rudder, along with dual guns and a crate of ammunition.

The battleship's steering mechanism was crippled in an allied attack off Guadalcanal in November 1942. It is said that officers ordered the crew to scuttle the ship.

It was the first Japanese battleship to be lost in the conflict, and went down with 188 hands.

Kazushige Todaka, director of the Kure Maritime Museum, also known as the Yamato Museum, in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, called the discovery significant as it serves as a visible reminder of the cost of forging peace through the tragedy of war.

Todaka, an expert on the Imperial Japanese Navy’s war tactics, speculated that the ship's ammunition room exploded as the ship was sinking.