For 23, WWI U-Boat May Have Become a Coffin

Sunken sub found off the coast of Belgium
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2017 12:35 PM CDT
Updated Sep 23, 2017 9:39 AM CDT
WWI Soldiers May Have Been Found in North Sea
A sketch of the submarine found off the coast of Belgium.   (Handout)

Eleven German submarines from World War I have been found sunk in Belgian waters. The latest to be discovered, however, is the "best preserved" of all, officials say. The U-boat, 88 feet long by 20 feet wide, has been found in an undisclosed location off the Belgian coast near West Flanders, some 100 feet beneath the surface of the North Sea, report Deutsche Welle and Yahoo News. Believed to have been sunk by a naval mine, the sub is covered in barnacles and seaweed and shows damage to its top and bow, but its conning tower and periscopes remain intact and its hatches shut, reports the BBC. It's "in such good condition that we reckon all the bodies are still on board," says West Flanders Governor Carl Decaluwe.

The UB-II submarine would normally have held 22 crew members and a commander, says Decaluwe. "It's quite amazing that we found something like this," he adds. "Of the 11 downed U-boats in Belgian waters, this one is the best preserved example," notes the province of West Flanders, per Reuters. Though 70 of 93 German U-boats stationed in Belgium were lost at sea during the war, Deutsche Welle notes the sunken sub could be one of 18 German subs stationed in Bruges from 1915 to 1918 with the goal of disrupting British trade routes. It's not yet clear if officials plan to search the sub for bodies, but a Belgian minister has suggested the wreck could become a heritage site. (The discovery of a lost U-boat was reported last year.)

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