Expedition nets remains of 6 ships, fighter plane

The SS Meyersledge

From Erkki Sivonen - ERR


In the course of a joint Estonian-Swedish expedition this summer, maritime archeologists located the previously-unmapped remains of six ships in the West Estonian Archipelago and the Gulf of Riga.

Although already known to local fishermen and divers, by far the largest underwater object previously unmapped was the wreck of the German cargo steamer SS Meyersledge 15 meters below the surface near the island of Kihnu.

According to unconfirmed records, the 63-meter long steamer was sunk by the Soviet Air Force three miles off the coast of Kihnu on September 24, 1944.

"In the Suur Katel Bay [off the Saaremaa coast], we discovered remains of two ships that we are currently working to identify, and an Il-2 plane," Maili Roio, advisor at the Heritage Board and head of the underwater expedition.

The Il-2 was a Soviet ground-attack fighter used during World War II. Unfortunately, underwater visibility was extremely low at the time of the expedition, Roio said, therefore the archeologists could only retrieve sonar data rather than optical images.

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