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Two of the four Japanese aircraft carriers sunk at the Battle of Midway during World War II have been found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington said on Monday this week. The wreckage of what appears to be the carrier KAGA was located Oct. 16, and that of the AKAGI was found on Sunday.  The Midway atoll that gave the June 1942 battle is about 1,400 miles northwest of Hawaii. The discoveries, which were first reported by the Associated Press, rank as some of the biggest underwater historical finds in years. The sprawling battle was one of the most epic in naval history, and it left the cream of the Japanese navy as blazing wrecks. It stunned the Japanese, who were careful to hide the outcome from the public, and reversed the course of World War II in the Pacific. The discoveries, in 17,000 feet of water, were made by the Research Vessel PETREL, in conjunction with the Navy, and are part of an underwater exploration effort started by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft. The PETREL is owned and operated by Allen’s Seattle-based company Vulcan Inc. Allen died last year. The PETREL has been scouring the Pacific to locate and document sunken ships of World War II and has found more than 30 vessels. Experts said they hope to find the two other lost Japanese carriers, Soryu and Hiryu.

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