First images of wreckage found of WWII submarine downed near North Carolina

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NOAA and its research partners have shared the first glimpses in decades of a German submarine U-576 downed off the coast of North Carolina during World War II.

Scientists located the long lost vessel in 2014 and are now performing an analysis of the wreckage.

At the time of its demise, the submarine was sinking ships belonging to both merchants and Allied forces.

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The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship, sits in a conservation tank at a lab in North Charleston, S.C. on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Scientists have just completed a year of painstaking work to remove the encrusted sediment and rust from the outer hull of the submarine. But they say cleaning the hull provided no smoking gun as to why the hand-cranked submarine sank in February of 1864 after sinking a Union blockade ship off Charleston, S.C. They say the mystery may not be solved until the encrustation visible inside the sub, such as that seen here on the crank, is removed. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship, sits in a conservation tank at a lab in North Charleston, S.C. on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Scientists have just completed a year of painstaking work removing encrusted sediment and rust from the outer hull of the submarine. But they say cleaning the hull provided no smoking gun as to why the hand-cranked submarine sank in February of 1864 after sinking a Union blockade ship off Charleston, S.C. They say the crescent-shaped area, upper right, shows damage to the sub caused when a wooden pole that was extended from that point was pushed back toward the sub - damage perhaps caused by the pole hitting a vessel. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
A conservationist sprays water on the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship, in a conservation tank at a lab in North Charleston, S.C. on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Scientists have just completed a year of painstaking work to remove the encrusted sediment and rust from the outer hull of the submarine. But they say cleaning the hull provided no smoking gun as to why the hand-cranked submarine sank in February of 1864 after sinking a Union blockade ship off Charleston, S.C. They say the mystery may not be solved until the sediment visible inside the sub is removed. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first submarine in history to sink an enemy warship, sits in a conservation tank at a lab in North Charleston, S.C. on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Scientists have just completed a year of painstaking work to remove the encrusted sediment and rust from the outer hull of the submarine. But they say cleaning the hull provided no smoking gun as to why the hand-cranked submarine sank in February of 1864 after sinking a Union blockade ship off Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
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On July 15 of 1942, it waged an attack on the SS Bluefield, a Nicaraguan freighter that was part of a convoy being protected by the U.S. military. In response, many ships opened fire on the German U-boat.

Not long after, the U-576, beleaguered by depth charge attacks exacted by U.S. forces, sank.

All 44 crewmembers onboard likely perished, and their remains are believed to be entombed in the wreckage.

Though the wreckage is being investigated, it will likely not be disturbed as it is considered the final resting place of fallen soldiers.

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