27 Apr 2020 16:19

Hospital ship that sank as result of Nazi raid in 1941 found in Black Sea - Russian Geographical Society

MOSCOW. April 27 (Interfax) - The Russian military has found the hospital ship Armenia, which was sunk in the Black Sea by Nazi warplanes with thousands of refugees on board in 1941, the press service for the Russian Geographical Society said.

"The area was thoroughly examined using sonar during the last search operation in March 2020. As a result, specialists from the Defense Ministry of Russia spotted the body of a sunken ship, the size of which coincided with the characteristics of the Armenia ship," the press service said.

The sinking of the Armenia is considered to be one of the worst maritime tragedies in history. The ship was carrying between 6,000 and 10,000 people when it was hit by Nazi warplanes in November 1941.

"The bridges and decks carry obvious and horrifying traces of destruction: guard railings and other vertical elements are turned inside out. Most likely, these are the consequences of explosions after being hit by air-launched bombs," the press service quoted executive director of the Undersea Research Center of the Russian Geographical Society and member of the expedition Sergei Fokin as saying.

The nature of the damage sustained by the ship indicates that it sank as a result of a Nazi air raid, rather than as a result of torpedo strikes, as was earlier presumed.

"A domestically manufactured RT-series remotely operated unmanned underwater vehicle was used to thoroughly examine the object lying 15 nautical miles from the coast at a depth of 1,500 meters. This helped get the first video footage," the press service said.

The site where the Armenia sank was unknown until recently. Attempts to find the ship have been undertaken more than once, but weren't successful due to the great depth. In the past 20 years, search teams have examined more than 300 square kilometers of the seabed before a magnetic anomaly was detected in one of its sectors in 2017.