Sunday, December 31, 2006

A voyage to the bottom of the sea


The Boston Globe
By Ralph Ranalli
December 31, 2006

The USS Grunion in March 1942. The submarine disappeared
later that year. (electric boat co./bruce abele).

This summer, Newton resident Bruce Abele, son of World War II submarine commander Mannert L. "Jim" Abele, and his two brothers discovered a wreck off the coast of Alaska's Aleutian Islands that they believe to be the USS Grunion, their father's submarine, which had been missing since its maiden voyage in July 1942.

Aided by volunteers, the Abele family has located relatives of 64 of the Grunion's 70 crew members to tell them about the discovery. In one case, the family of a missing crewman was reunited with a long-lost sister who had entered a religious order after the nun called to inquire about the submarine. The search effort -- bankrolled by brother John Abele, the billionaire founder of Boston Scientific Corp. -- is to resume in August. The wreck, which is about a mile deep, was discovered using side-scan sonar. Bruce Abele said the searchers will use a robotic submersible armed with video cameras for a better look. "I think we'll be able to identify it [the submarine] in black and white," he said, "but I am still not sure we will be able to figure out what happened."



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