Greek Divers Find Luftwaffe Aircraft Wreck At 60m
In Faliro Bay, southwest of Athens, a group of Greek scuba divers found debris from a German warplane from World War II at a depth of 60 meters.
Ten years ago, the Addicted2H2O technical team’s divers had been investigating the discovery of a partially wrecked aircraft in the same area of the Saronic Gulf. They are now trying to figure out whether the fresh wreckage belongs to the missing portion of that plane or a different aircraft.
On December 27, after sonar searching had been fruitless, two local fishermen informed them of a location brimming with fish, and that is how they discovered the wreck. They made the quick decision to dig in and look into it.
Using closed-circuit rebreathers, the two divers first investigated the wreck for thirty-five minutes. Two other divers followed them down on an open circuit to take further pictures and videos when they reported that they had discovered the remnants of a military aircraft.
The crew concluded that the remnants could have been carried to the site from another wreck by a trawl net after identifying bits of the fuel canister, a fragment of netting, and the main and tail fuselages, as well as a wing and other minor pieces.
After analyzing the data, World War II wreck historian and diver Dimitris Galon concluded that the debris was likely from a Junkers Ju52. This three-engined transport aircraft was widely manufactured to assist German army operations throughout the conflict, most notably during the battles of Crete in 1941 and Leros in 1943.
Faliro Bay served as the Luftwaffe’s headquarters during the German occupation of Greece. Shortly after takeoff on November 28, 1943, a Junkers Ju52 “Iron Annie” with production number 7098 is said to have crashed and landed close to the wreck site.
This is new wreckage that had never been discovered or seen before,” Erikos Kranidiotis, one of the CCR divers, confirmed. “This is clear because the 2013 wreck has not changed today compared to when it was discovered.” The array of individual items found at the earlier site had also remained unaltered, he said.
“More importantly, the aircraft discovered back in 2013 was not whole – in fact half of it, pieces of the main, rear fuselage and a wing, among other things, was missing.”
According to Kranidiotis, the latest discovery is either the remaining half of the aircraft or a completely different Ju52. “Both scenarios are equally likely unless one finds the aircraft’s identification tag, which is located on the outside of the aircraft on the port side close to the pilot’s seat.
“Since the Luftwaffe flew many sorties over the years in which the Germans occupied Greece, it’s not highly unlikely that we’re talking about wreckage of an entirely different aircraft. What is certain is that we will need to further our investigations in the hope of discovering more clues.”
In the next months, the Addicted2H2O diving team—who often dive a variety of wrecks, caverns, and mines—plans to return to the aircraft site.
According to Kranidiotis, “the only challenge during wintertime is finding a weekend during which the sea is calm,” apart from difficulties scheduling time off from their day jobs. “Rough seas and bad weather keep us from leaving.”
Alongside him were divers Stelios Stamatakis, Alexandros Lykos, and Ioannis Simiridis; Vasilis Adamopoulos and Marios Papavasileiou provided surface support, and the Diver’s Corner dive centre provided backup.
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