Wreck of Nazi U-Boat 576, US freighter found off coast

A sonar image of the wreck of U-576, which has been found just 30 miles off the North Carolina coast.
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The wreck of a Nazi submarine sunk during World War II has been found off the coast of North Carolina, maritime authorities announced Tuesday.

U-boat 576 was found just 240 yards from another wreck: the American freight ship, Bluefields, which it torpedoed in the Battle of the Atlantic in 1942.

The twin wrecks were found just 30 miles off the North Carolina coast, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration said.

"Most people associate the Battle of the Atlantic with the cold, icy waters of the North Atlantic," said David Alberg at the NOAA. "But few people realize how close the war actually came to America’s shores."

U-576 torpedoed Bluefields and damaged two others while they were traveling in a convoy of 19 ships to Key West on July 15, 1942.

But the U-boat was also sunk within minutes by a U.S. Navy Kingfisher and another freighter.

Bluefields did not suffer any casualties but all 45 people aboard U-576 were killed.

Germany's foreign ministry said in a statement to the NOAA that the wreck "should, if possible, remain at their site and location to allow the dead to rest in peace."

An NOAA research vessel located the ships in August but the discovery was announced Tuesday.