The remains of a Soviet fighter-bomber plane and two crew members shot down by Germans in 1945 have been found in a river in central Poland, a museum official said.
Explorers made the find in the muddy tributary of the Bzura River near the village of Kamion, on Sunday. The remnants of the plane have been moved to a museum in nearby Wyszogrod for examination, with more recovery work planned on Saturday. The explorers believe it is a P-2 plane.
A fragment of a Jewish tombstone lies exposed along the Vistula River in Warsaw, Poland. As Polish river levels fall to record lows amid a prolonged drought, the material remains of Poland’s tortured 20th century history are coming to light on newly exposed river beds, with Jewish tombstones and the human remains of two Soviet fighter pilots and their plane being found in recent days. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
The head of the museum, Zdzislaw Leszczynski, said that parts of Soviet uniforms, a parachute, a sheepskin coat collar, parts of boots, the pilot's personal TT pistol and radio equipment have been found, along with a lot of heavy ammunition. The inscriptions on the control panel and on the radio equipment are in Cyrillic.
Leszczynski said that witnesses had described the plane being hit while flying low in January 1945 and crushing down through the thick ice and into the river. At that time in the area, the German army was retreating toward Berlin before the Red Army's advance.
Leszczynski said he has informed the Russian Embassy about the find. He hopes the crew can be identified and buried properly in a military cemetery.
A floating crane lifts from the Neva river a fragment with a gun of an Ilyushin Il-2, a ground-attack aircraft which was found underwater near Kirovsk. This aircraft apparently was shot and fell into the river in October 1941 when the Red Army fought there against Nazi Germany's troops besieging Leningrad. The city's name was changed back from Leningrad to St. Petersburg after the 1991 Soviet collapse. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Embassy spokeswoman Valeriya Perezhinskaya said officials were still waiting for a written notification, but considered the find important. She believed the crew could be identified by the numbers on the wreckage and could be properly buried. About 600,000 Soviet troops were killed fighting the German army on Polish territory.
Recent drought that brought river levels to record low in Poland has allowed access to the remains.