Published June 12, 2012
Crews are working to recover a World War II Stuka dive bomber from the bottom of the Baltic Sea that will join the only other two known models to survive.
Known as the ‘Stuka’ a shorthand version of the German word for dive-bomber, Sturzkampfflugzueg, the plane was a symbol of German air power propaganda during World War II, and featured a crew of two, a single engine, and an ominous, wailing siren that blared before it vertically dropped its bombs.
The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and the Royal Air Force Museum in London are the only two sites in the world that currently feature complete Stuka bombers on display.
“We feel very fortunate to have this rare, original example of aviation history on display,” Kathleen McCarthy, director of collections at the Museum of Science and Industry, told FoxNews.com.
She added that the museum’s JU87R-2 Tropical Stuka was shot down over Libya during the final year of World War II, and was given as a gift by the British Information Series in 1946.
The raising of the Stuka today has relevance for its counterpart in Chicago as well; McCarthy suspects that “[It] will provide more opportunities for both researchers and the public to learn about this critical and historic piece of military technology.”
The recovery of the plane has been a long process, as it was initially discovered by a fisherman in the 1990s.
The parts of the plane not yet retrieved presently sit under about 60 feet of water in the Baltic Sea, roughly 4 miles off the coast of the German Baltic island Ruegen.
Capt. Sebastian Bangert, a spokesman from the German Military Historical Museum in Dresden, who is overseeing the recovery, told The Associated Press that military divers recently brought up the engine, and the radiator Tuesday, which distinguished it from a JU87D model, to a later JU87G model.
Also Tuesday, the divers are looking to bring up a large fuselage piece, including the entire right wing and part of the left as well.
“It’s a wonderful find,” McCarthy said.
FoxNews.com’s Giovanna Giampa and The Associated Press contributed to this report.