Rare WWII Junkers Ju 88 Pulled Up From Baltic Sea Floor

Experts try to uncover aircraft’s history.

Junkers Ju 88

Junkers Ju 88

Junkers Ju 88

After lying on the bottom of the Baltic Sea for more than half a century, the wreckage of a rare Junkers Ju 88 is being brought to the surface by a group of German military divers.

The wreckage, located just off the coast of the German island of Rugen, was first found in the 1990s by a fisherman approximately 60 feet below the surface. After recovering small parts of the aircraft earlier in the week, experts initially thought the aircraft was a Stuka, a single engine dive-bomber known for the particularly striking noise it emits during power dives.

But on Friday, the German Military Historical Museum announced that they now realize the wreckage is that of the Ju 88. What they initially thought was the whole wing with an engine in the middle, turned out to be just one side of the larger Junkers Ju 88.

The Junkers Ju 88 is a versatile, multi-role aircraft that was manufactured in greater numbers than any other German twin-engine aircraft during World War II. While more than 16,000 were produced, only a few remain in existence worldwide.

While historians have identified the aircraft model, questions surrounding who was flying it and why it crashed remain unanswered. The recovery group hopes that the parts of aircraft brought to the surface this week, as well as human remains found at the site, will help answer those questions.

For now, the dive team is finished hoisting pieces of the aircraft to the surface. The majority of the aircraft still lies submerged at the bottom of the Baltic though, and participants say they hope to come back to the site in the future to recover what’s left of it.