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Navy confirms World War II shipwreck is cruiser Houston

The Houston was sunk during the Battle of Sunda Strait in Indonesia.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Updated Aug. 19, 2014 at 12:35 PM

LABUHAN, Indonesia, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- A wrecked ship at the bottom of the Java Sea has been confirmed as the heavy cruiser USS Houston, a U.S. Navy ship sunk in 1942 with 1,068 aboard.

U.S. Navy divers confirmed Monday the lost ship is the Houston. It was sunk during the Battle of Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra, on Feb. 28, 1942, during combat with Japanese aircraft. Although all aboard were presumed dead, 291 survived and were imprisoned by Japanese forces. Information about the survivors came after the war's end in 1945, when five escapees from a prisoner of war camp in Thailand confirmed about 300 sailors and Marines were captured.

U.S. Navy archeologists and Indonesian Navy divers recently worked to survey the wrecked ship, nicknamed "The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast." The Navy History and Heritage Command confirmed the information discovered is consistent with the identification of the ship.

The location of the Houston will be protected as an historic site.

The U.S. Navy estimates 17,000 of its ships and aircraft, around the world, rest on the ocean floor.

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