A team of divers recently identified the wreckage of a World War II aircraft on the seabed in Faliro Bay, southern Athens, believed to have crashed in 1943.
“We embarked on a mission to dive to a wreck that was located in 2013 by another team. Arriving at the designated spot, we couldn’t see it by scanning the seabed. However, luck was on our side as a few kilometers away, we encountered two fishermen who pointed us to a spot with a concentration of fish. So, we decided to dive, knowing that most wrecks are located thanks to fishermen’s indications,” says Erikos Kranidiotis of the Addicted2H2O team, which conducted the operation with the support of the Diver’s Corner dive center.
Describing the discovery, Kranidiotis notes that initially, without knowing what lay beneath the surface, two divers from the team descended. After 35 minutes of exploration, they brought the good news to the surface.
“The material we collected clearly points to the wreckage of an aircraft, including fragments of the fuselage and tail, as well as a wing. We also found dissolved pieces of the fuselage and torn nets at various points, leading us to infer that parts of the aircraft’s wreckage may have been ensnared in fishing nets and dragged to its current position,” he says.
However, the discovery was not complete after the team’s initial dive. Aiming to learn more about the aircraft, they approached Dimitris Galon, a diver and historian specializing in World War II wrecks, who maintains a rich archive of Greek shipwrecks.
“From the material we collected and with Dimitris’ experienced eye, we concluded that it is a Junkers-type transport plane. Furthermore, we speculate that it is part of a Ju 52 with production number 7098, which crashed in Faliro immediately after takeoff on November 28, 1943,” says Kranidiotis, adding that it’s possible that pieces of the same aircraft have previously been found in the surrounding area.
“In 2013, wreckage from a similar type of aircraft was discovered by another team, so it’s quite likely that we found the remaining parts. However, there’s no archive documenting all wrecks in this specific area to assist us in identification,” he says.
In addition to Kranidiotis, the divers who discovered and dived to the wreckage were Stelios Stamatakis, Alexandros Lykos and Ioannis Simiridis, assisted on the surface by Marios Papavasileiou and Vassilis Adamopoulos.
The transport trimotor Junkers (nicknamed “Tante Ju” or “Aunt Ju” and “Iron Annie”) was one of the most well-known types of mass-produced aircraft supporting German army operations during World War II. In Greek territory, this type was utilized in two major military operations: the Battle of Crete in 1941 and the Battle of Leros in 1943.