ROME (AP) — Britain's Royal Navy says it's looking into claims by an Italian diver that he located the long-lost wreck of the HMS P311 submarine, which was downed off Sardinia during World War II.
Diver Massimo Bondone told the La Nuova Sardegna daily he found the P311 at a depth of 80 meters (262 feet) off the isle of Tavolara during a dive last weekend.
Paola Pegoraro of the Orso diving club, which provided logistics for the dive, told The Associated Press the sub was positively identified by the two Chariot "human torpedoes" affixed to the outside.
"We are examining our records to determine whether or not this is a Royal Navy submarine," a British Navy spokesman said Wednesday on condition of anonymity, in line with navy regulations.
The spokesman stressed that if it is indeed the P311, the wreck belongs to Britain and any possible remains on board must be respected.
The P311 left Malta in December 1942 with 71 crew on board to take part in Operation Principle, an Allied attack on Italian warships off Sardinia. According to the online resource www.naval-history.net, contact was lost Dec. 31 after the sub apparently hit a mine.