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September 15, 2012

Wreckage of German WW II warplane found off Sardinia coast

Washington: The wreckage of a huge German aircraft of the Second World War era has been found off the coast of Sardinia nearly 70 years after it was shot down by a British fighter in the during the war. A team of Italian researchers have revealed that, employed between 1942 and 1944, the plane known as Messerschmitt 323 "Giant," was the largest land-based transport aircraft used in World War II. ""Until now, no Me-323 had survived from the war, which makes this finding of great historical importance," Discovery News quoted Cristina Freghieri, a diver and amateur historian who discovered the wreck at a depth of 200 feet off the coast of the island of Sardinia, as saying. With a 181-foot wingspan and six engines, the aircraft was 33 feet tall and 92 feet long and could carry a load of up to 12 tons, or 120 fully-equipped men into battle, the report said. After spending a year searching military archives and flight path records, Freghieri identified the wreck with a wire-guided camera and then explored it with a small team of researchers. "It was a pure emotional charge to suddenly see the airplane in the veiled blue of the sea. First we saw a piece of a sheet of metal, then another until the plane appeared, in an explosion of images, in all its beauty. My heart skipped a beat," Freghieri said. It is the second important discovery of a WW II wreck off Sardinia in just three months, the report said.

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