A German U-boat lost over a century ago has resurfaced off the coast of France.
Well, just off the coast of France. More like on the coast of France. It’s a debatable point, is all we’re saying.
The ancient wreck of UC-61, long since abandoned by its German crew, has once again surfaced near the town of Wissan in Northern France. The submarine had run aground in July of 1917, with the wreck left there ever since.
For decades the wreck had been visible to tourists following the war, but by the 1930s the shifting sea sands had completely buried the old U-boat. However, the same winds and shifting sea currents have once again revealed parts of the wreck since last December, although it’s only visible at low tides.
Located roughly 330 feet from the dunes of the beach, the wreck has definitely seen better days. What little remains of the steel fuselage has completely rusted through, with microscopic sea life giving it a slightly greenish hue.
Apparently, this isn’t the first time UC-61 has risen from the depths to surprise and delight tourists. According to Bernard Bracq, the mayor of Wissant, the submarine makes occasional visits like a returning apparition.
"The wreck is visible briefly every two to three years, depending on the tides and the wind that leads to sand movements, but a good gust of wind and the wreck will disappear again," Wissant told the BBC.
It’s also possible that even more of the wreck could be exposed with the shifting sands, but overall rising sea levels will likely submerge the submarine for good at some point.
Back when UC-61 was a seagoing vessel, it was primarily used to lay mines through the English Channel. It’s credited with sinking at least 11 allied vessels during World War 1, either by mine or by torpedo.
On its final journey, UC-61 left Zeebrugge, Belgium to lay mines near Boulogne-sur-Mer and Le Havre, off the coast of France. Instead, she ran aground and the captain was forced to scuttle the ship.
All 26 crewmembers surrendered to French forces after swimming ashore.