Has a missing submarine with 80 sailors been found?


As of at least November 2021, an online advertisement with an impressive photograph said: “Missing submarine with 80 sailors found, experts uncovered the truth.” A variation of the same advertisement read: “After the discovery of a missing submarine with 80 sailors, experts unraveled its desolate fall.” Each ad led to a 53-page slideshow article on a website called Oracle Film.

The caption of this online ad was very misleading.

It is true that on June 5, 2019, a missing World War II submarine that had a crew of 80 US Navy sailors was found. It is also true that experts could only find its final resting place after discovering a decades-old error in the translation of the coordinates.

However, the image in the ad had nothing to do with the story.


In fact, the photo in the ad showed the Russian K-84 Ekaterinburg, a Delta IV-class submarine.

A person can be seen standing on the right side of the image. However, he or she was cropped for the ad, which perhaps made the submarine look even bigger than it already was.

An advertisement falsely claimed that this photo shows a missing submarine with 80 sailors found and experts have uncovered the truth.
The person on the right provided perspective.

The ship in the ad was the same nuclear submarine that Reuters said caught fire on December 29, 2011. According to a Reddit comment, a video showed the same fire.

The blaze explained why the submarine appeared to be heavily damaged in the ad. According to a Russian report, the repairs were estimated at 1 billion rubles, or nearly 13.8 million US dollars.

USS Grayback

As mentioned earlier, a missing submarine with 80 sailors has been found, and experts have indeed discovered the truth of what happened to it. However, the real story had nothing to do with the misleading image of the Russian submarine.

The ad itself did not mention WWII or the name of the ship, potentially leading some readers to believe that a submarine lost for a short time was found with 80 sailors still alive. However, here is the real story.

Project Lost 52 aims to find all of the lost submarines from WWII. On June 5, 2019, he located the USS Grayback after the disappearance of the American submarine around February 1944. It had 80 sailors for its crew when it was destroyed.

Why the number “52” for the Lost 52 project? According to the US Department of Defense: “It was one of 52 US submarines that went missing during the Great Conflict. Six were found in the decades that followed, and now the Grayback can be added to the list of submarines whose disappearance is no longer a mystery.

An advertisement falsely claimed that this photo shows a missing submarine with 80 sailors found and experts have uncovered the truth.
One of the first photos of the USS Grayback under 1,400 feet of water after it was discovered off Okinawa on June 5, 2019 (Lost 52 Project / Defense.gov)

Why did underwater explorers take so long to find it? On November 10, 2019, The New York Times reported that it all boiled down to “an erroneous translation of the Japanese war records.”

The Grayback was believed to have sunk in the open sea 100 miles east-southeast of Okinawa. But the Navy had subconsciously relied on an erroneous translation of the Japanese war records that was wrong with a number on the latitude and longitude of where the Grayback had likely reached its end.

The error was not detected until last year, when an American underwater explorer asked a researcher, Yutaka Iwasaki, to consult the war records of the Imperial Japanese Navy base in Sasebo. . The files included daily reports received by radio from Naval Air Station Naha, Okinawa – and the February 27, 1944 entry contained a promising lead.

Today’s report indicated that an onboard Nakajima B5N bomber dropped a 500-pound bomb on a submarine on the surface, hitting just aft of the turret. The submarine exploded and sank immediately, and there were no survivors.

“In this radio recording, there is a longitude and latitude of the attack, very clearly,” Mr. Iwasaki said. And that did not correspond to what happened in the history of the Navy of 1949, not a hundred miles away.

ABC News aired an exclusive report that showed video footage of the submarine on the ocean floor. It also showed the moment when some relatives learned that he had been found.

In summary, it is true that a missing submarine with a crew of 80 sailors has been found, all of whom perished decades earlier when it was bombed and destroyed in WWII. However, someone was paying to advertise a misleading image of a Russian nuclear submarine alongside the story. This photo had nothing to do with the disappearance of the USS Grayback.

To find out more, we have already reported another online ad that appeared to show the Russian heavy bomber Kalinin K-7.

Snopes demystifies a wide range of content, and online ads are no exception. Deceptive ads often lead to obscure websites that host long slideshow articles with lots of pages. This is called advertising “arbitrage”. The advertiser’s goal is to make more money from the ads displayed on the slideshow pages than it cost to display the initial ad that attracted them to it. Please feel free to submit any ads to us and be sure to include a screenshot of the ad and the link to where the ad leads.


“Delta-class submarine.” Wikia.org, https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Delta-class_submarine.

Ismay, Jean. “A Navy submarine, missing for 75 years, is found off Okinawa.” The New York Times, November 11, 2019. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/10/us/navy-submarine-missing-for-75-years-is-found-off-okinawa.html.

“The legacy left by the recently discovered USS Grayback. ” US Department of Defense, https://www.defense.gov/News/Inside-DOD/Blog/Article/2053406/the-legacy-the-recently-discovered-uss-grayback-left-behind/.

Lost project 52 | New York, New York 10028. http://www.lost52project.org/.

“Russian nuclear submarine K-84 Ekaterinburg on fire. “ RT, www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyjHz7ETaK8.

“Russian submarine K-84 Ekaterinburg.” r/ interesting as fuck, April 8, 2020, www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/comments/fxhoe7/russian_submarine_k84_ekaterinburg/.

“Russia is submerging a nuclear submarine to put out the blaze.” Reuters, December 29, 2011. www.reuters.com, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-submarine-fire-idUSTRE7BS0MJ20111229.

“The USS Grayback discovered 75 years later. ” ABC News, www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bod4PLoHrc.

“The Caugh Welding Sparks…” r / WarshipPorn, April 25, 2014, www.reddit.com/r/WarshipPorn/comments/23walq/a_very_unique_photo_the_bow_of_russian_submarine/ch1l9qw/.

“WWII submarine found off the coast of Japan, ending a 75-year mystery.” ABC News, https://abcnews.go.com/US/world-war-ii-submarine-found-off-coast-japan/story?id=66893943.

ерб от пожара на подлодке “Екатеринбург” превысил миллиард рублей. January 10, 2012, https://www.e1.ru/text/incidents/2012/01/10/52539791/.