Believing the Japanese carriers were still well to the north near Bougainville, Fletcher continued to refuel…. At 10:00, a Kawanishi reconnaissance flying boat from Tulagi sighted TF 17 and notified its headquarters…. Takagi's force was about 300 nmi (350 mi; 560 km) north of Fletcher, near the maximum range for his carrier aircraft…. Takagi detached his two carriers with two destroyers under Hara's command to head towards TF 17 at 20 kn (23 mph; 37 km/h) in order to be in position to attack at first light the next day while the rest of his ships completed refueling.
American B-17 bombers based in Australia and staging through Port Moresby attacked the approaching Port Moresby invasion forces, including Gotō's warships, several times during the day on 6 May without success. MacArthur's headquarters radioed Fletcher with reports of the attacks and the locations of the Japanese invasion forces. MacArthur's fliers' reports of seeing a carrier (Shōhō) about 425 nmi (489 mi; 787 km) northwest of TF17 further convinced Fletcher fleet carriers were accompanying the invasion force.
At 18:00, TF 17 completed fueling…. TF 17 then turned to head northwest towards Rossel Island in the Louisiades. Unbeknownst to the two adversaries, their carriers were only 70 nmi (130 km) away from each other by 20:00 that night…
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