French Minerve submarine is found after disappearing in 1968

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A handout photo made available by the French Navy and the Defense Ministry shows an underwater image of part of a wreckage of the Minerva submarine as seen from a Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle (ROV), off the coast of Toulon, France, 21 July 2019Image source, Marine Nationale
Image caption,
The letters MINE from the Minerve's name were visible on the wreck in this handout released on Monday

A French submarine that has been missing for more than 50 years has been located by a search team.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly tweeted the announcement on Monday, describing the discovery as a "relief and technical feat".

Fifty-two sailors were on board the Minerve when it vanished near the port of Toulon, on the French south coast, in January 1968.

Previous efforts to find the submarine were all unsuccessful.

Ms Parly announced the new recovery effort earlier this year, following fresh requests from bereaved families to find their loved ones.

"We have just found the Minerve," Ms Parly tweeted (in French). "It's a success, a relief and a technical feat. I think of the families who have been waiting for this moment so long."

Image source, Keystone-France via Getty
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A photograph of the Minerve, taken four years before its disappearance
Image source, AFP
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A file photo from 1965 shows the crew of the submarine

The new search team reportedly re-analysed data from the accident, including tides, to help find the wreckage with the help of new technology.

The final discovery was made by a boat belonging to private US company Ocean Infinity, an unnamed French naval official told the news agency.

The missing submarine was found 45km (30 miles) from Toulon 2,370m (7,800ft) under the surface, the defence ministry said.

The precise reason behind the accident involving the Minerve has never been revealed.

It was one in a string of a deadly disasters involving military submarines around the world during the 1960s.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Victims' relatives, including widow Therese Scheirmann-Descamps, had called for renewed searches