Mystery of the underwater time capsule is solved: Plane is identified as a JU-52 carrier

A plane used by the Luftwaffe forces during the Second World War has been located underwater in remarkable condition. Located in the Black Sea, the nearly pristine aircraft (not accounting for the wear of old age) has been searched thoroughly to discover many items on board which provide information about those who went down with it. It is estimated that over seventy years have passed since the plane crashed and sank.

This estimate comes from the notion that it may have been an aircraft that went missing in 1942 with nine people on board. This is corroborated by the knowledge that a plane matching its description had been set to transport nine German officers before it went missing. There was a uniform found aboard the JU-52, along with some maps, which helps to match the vehicle with those on board at the time it went down. There was also a belt found which was inscribed with the name of one of the German officers who went MIA along with the airplane.

A transport vehicle referred to as an “Iron Annie,” the JU-52 discovered underwater was not the intended find. Divers who discovered the Iron Annie had actually been searching for an altogether different aircraft at the time of their discovery. They were initially unsure they would find any German plane at all, due to the lack of existing reports on crashes in the area. They were amazed by what they did find, however, and are still working to piece together the entire story behind it.

Of note is the fact that so far they have no evidence to suggest that the crew was killing upon the water landing. It is believed that the pilot manning the controls of the Nazi plane went off-route due to inclement weather. Due to the discovery of boots and the lack of a body anywhere on board, the crew may easily have swum to safety once submerged, the Mail Online reports.

The crew of the  JU-52 remains a mystery, as their fate has yet to be determined. Since there were likely no life rafts (the flight was not supposed to go over the water), it is difficult to ascertain whether or not they survived their swim. Investigations into the aircraft have been underway for five years, so their fate might never be known. What is known for certain is that the  plane which crashed seven decades ago has been preserved remarkably well, meaning it was likely a water landing rather than a true crash. This means that the officers aboard might easily have survived, though to what end is the most uncertain detail of all.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE