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Amateur divers find 1917 U-Boat wreckage off Cork coast

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A team of five amateur divers have discovered the wreckage of  a UC-42 submarine which sank while laying mines during the First World War off the Cork coast.

The remains were located in 80 feet of water just off Roches Point on November 6 last.The U-boat measured about 115 feet  long and was found in good condition.

All 27 crew on board the vessel died when the submarine sank. It is thought that divers using explosives from the HMS Vernon torpedo school destroyed the vessel in July 1919.

Ian Kelleher, who was part of the team who made the recent discovery described the search as a “religion” for diving enthusiasts.

"It was a religion in diving terms around here that there was a U-boat missing out there. The fact that it had never been found made it more of a mystery, and we believed that by finding it that maybe we could tell the story of what happened it and its crew, so we set out many years ago actually to look for it. We got lucky and we found it," he told the Irish Examiner.

Kelleher, who is a chemistry student at Cork Institute of Technology said the original dive team had laid a plaque of remembrance for those killed near the propellers.

"Once it sank in September 1917, the British Admiralty dived to confirm that it was there. We believed that if any damage had been done to it by the British, there would still be remains of it there. We just wanted to find it and see what was left of it. What we found, on the other hand, was quite the opposite. It was an intact submarine lying on the bottom and not the scattered remains we had believed we would find down there," he said.

The chemistry student said the team planned to attempt to contact the relatives of the crew and urged divers to respect the site as a grave

"There aren’t very many U-boats in Ireland that are within the reach of ordinary divers. This is, possibly, within the reach of most divers out there. I do believe it will be a magnet for divers. I would like to stress that it is a grave, however. We have treated it as such and we have laid a plaque there and anybody that dives it we would ask to look but not touch," he said.

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