WW2 aircraft wreck latest in string of Estonia finds

The aircraft lies in two parts (Estonian Transport Administration)
The aircraft lies in two parts (Estonian Transport Administration)

A twin-engined WW2 military aircraft has been found in Estonia’s Gulf of Livonia in the Baltic Sea. Lying in two parts, with its tail section detached from the main wreck, the plane awaits diving to be identified.

The wreck is the latest in a string of finds by the hydrographic department of the Estonian Transport Administration, the surveys of which have proved fruitful this summer.

It was picked up on routine sonar scans being carried out from the research vessel Jakob Prei nine nautical miles south-east of Abruka, a small island lying off Estonia’s largest, Saaremaa.

The aircraft’s fuselage is 17m long and it has a wingspan to match. The tail-section lies 46m north of the fuselage.

“At the moment it is not known what the plane is, but it is definitely a military plane from the Second World War,” said department head Peeter Väling. “We currently know of four planes in the Gulf of Livonia, two of them found during mine-clearance operations.”

Diver took a look

The discovery comes little more than a month since the hydrographers discovered a vessel thought to have sunk 100 years ago, four miles west of Saaremaa.

Originally thought to be a WW1 warship, it took a scuba dive by former mine-clearance diver Veikko Horm to determine that the 60m wreck with 10m beam was in fact a cargo steamship.

Steamer wreck thought to be the Kronos (Estonian Transport Administration)
Steamer wreck thought to be the Kronos (Estonian Transport Administration)
Another view of the Kronos (Estonian Transport Administration)
Another view of the steamer (Estonian Transport Administration)

According to Ivar Treffner, a researcher at the Estonian Maritime Museum, the most likely candidate is the 1897-built Kronos. On 16 November, 1923, the German vessel ran aground near Karala before sinking with the loss her crew of 21. The wreck’s position had remained a mystery.

Warship near border

More than 680 wrecks have been recorded on Estonia’s seabed and placed on the Transport Administration’s database, says Väling, with five or six examples found most years but often not considered to be of any great consequence. 

“Most of them have been found during surveying work,” he says, with the bulk of this taking place in the Gulf of Livonia. “Twelve have been found this year, but most are small and badly broken.”

The unidentified warship (Estonian Transport Administration)
The unidentified warship (Estonian Transport Administration)

Another recent exception to this, however, was an 83m-long wreck with a 12m beam found in May. Broken and rising 10m off the seabed, it was discovered at a depth of 62m east of the Tallinn-Helsinki shipping channel, only two miles from the Finnish border.

The wreck is believed to be a 20th-century warship, and again requires divers to find out more about it. “Such interesting wrecks rarely come along,” said Väling ruefully on that occasion.

Also on Divernet: Exploring Baltic shipwrecks in Finland and Estonia, Exploring Baltic shipwrecks in Sweden, Prison break, What holed Estonia wreck? The report is in

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#askmark, Heyo! Longtime listener, first time caller, etc. Went with a BP/W for my first set and I'm having a really hard time keeping the power inflator on my shoulder; the corrugated hose keeps flipping off my shoulder and getting twisted up or just ending up behind the backplate and dangling down the back of the wing. Is there something I can add to my harness to keep it in place? I don't want to tie it to the D ring since I wouldn't be able to lift it to deflate. I'm using the cheap DGX Gears wing for reference. Thanks!

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00:00 Introduction
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06:05 Hydrate
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