Missing Second World War plane found off Sliema coast

The seas around Malta never fail to surprise.

Archaeologists from the University of Malta and California Polytechnic State University have made an important discovery in the sea off coast of Sliema.

A photo taken by sonar clearly shows the remains of an airplane which experts have identified as a Royal Navy Fairey Swordfish, which crashed and sank in the middle of the Second World War.

Archeologist Dr Timmy Gambin said: ‘We believe that this is the plane which is documented to have crashed in 1943.

‘It took off from Hal Far, and developed a fault in its engine during the flight and had to land in the sea just off Sliema.

‘The pilot and co-pilot were lucky because two British servicemen who happened to be on leave that day and were out sailing, saw the plane coming down and managed to rescue them.’

Students from California Polytechnic State University located the warplane using sonar, and the latest underwater photography and video technology to search the seabed.

Dr Gambin said that the plane was in acceptable condition and the wings, the tail as well as the propellers were still visible.

He added: ‘Our long-term plan is to include sites such as this in itineraries for divers who go diving around Malta and who are interested in historical wrecks’.