Greek military divers have successfully recovered the wreckage of a World War Two German Junkers 87 "Stuka" dive bomber. The bomber is believed to have been shot down in 1943 and was part of a German squadron operating from the Island of Rhodes.
The Junkers-87 dive-bomber was shot down in 1943 and will be conserved and displayed at the air force museum at an airport near Athens, air force spokesman Col. Ioannis Papageorgiou said.
Papageorgiou said there was no trace of the two airmen's bodies.
"The plane was raised a couple of hours ago, and I don't know yet whether there are any remains inside," he told The Associated Press.
He said part of the plane's tail section appeared to be missing.
The two-seater's wreckage was located two years ago by a trawler, which caught it in its nets seven miles offshore at a depth of 492 feet, and dragged it close to the island's southern coast.
Air force experts believe the plane was part of a Luftwaffe squadron operating from Rhodes that lost several Stukas to allied ships and aircraft on Oct. 9, 1943.
"Once we locate the serial number, we will be able to identify the plane, what squadron it belonged to and the crew," Papageorgiou said.
Over 6,000 of the bombers were built between 1936 and 1944. Only two survive in museums while the wreckage of three more have been recovered. The Stuka was a slow and ungainly aircraft and was no match for more modern fighters but was used to devastating psychological effect by fitting it with a siren that made an unearthly howl when it dove in. It was also used later in the war as a "tank buster" on the Eastern Front and was actually very good at it. The most highly decorated German pilot of the war, Hans Ulrich Rudel, destroyed 519 Russian tanks with the Stuka tank killer.