A Messerschmitt Bf 109, the main fighter aircraft of the Luftwaffe during the Second World War which was shot down in Crete, Greece, in 1941, has become a major tourist attraction for the lovers of diving.
The aircraft is located off the coast of Hersonissos, east of the city of Heraklion. It lies at a short distance from the coast and at a shallow depth which enables its exploration by divers.
The existence of the aircraft has been known for years, while Greek tourist agents and businessmen have been “exploiting” it to attract clients. Many historians and researchers who are aware of the German aircraft’s existence are wondering why it hasn’t yet been pulled from the bottom of the sea, as it could be highlighted as a priceless exhibit of the Battle of Crete.
The aircraft is lying upside down at the bottom of the sea. The engine has been cut off from the rest of the fuselage, while the propeller is a few meters away. Both the propeller and wings are intact. The wheels are folded under the wings with its manufacturer’s insignia still clearly visible. Finally, the engine’s rubber collars remain unaffected, while certain aluminium parts of the fuselage are still shiny.
The German aircraft was one of the 1,280 warplanes sent by the Luftwaffe to fight in the Battle of Crete and one of the 210 shot down by the Allies. About 4,465 German paratroopers were also killed during the invasion.