Doubt greets report of U-boat in Canadian river
A report that a German World War II submarine has been located at the bottom of a Canadian river, 60 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, is being greeted with skepticism.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation wrote earlier this week that searchers using sonar believe they had found a submarine in the Churchill River in Labrador, part of the far eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The 150-foot-long object was first spotted two years ago by searchers using sonar in an effort to locate three men who had gone over Muskrat Falls, the CBC reported.
“We were looking for something completely different, not a submarine, not a U-boat – I mean, no one would ever believe that was possible,” Brian Corbin told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “It was a great feeling when we found it.”
A search team plans to revisit the site next week to photograph the object using a remote-control vehicle, according to The National Post.
“Canadian historians and academics that are following the story are anxious to see what comes from the mission,” the publication reported.
“I’m always skeptical. This is only based on a shape in a sonar,” said Mike O’Brien, a history professor at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. “I’m only saying it’s not impossible.”
A spokesperson for the German Embassy in Ottawa told CBC News that about a dozen U-boats remain unaccounted for.
“According to the Canadian War Museum, radio communications became compromised halfway through the war and many U-boat captains were warned not to report their whereabouts to headquarters for fear of being intercepted by Allied forces,” The National Post reported.
“There are some U-boats that essentially vanished without anyone knowing the cause,” said Jeff Noakes, the War Museum’s Second World War expert.
Rumors of dark shadows being spotted along the Churchill River, a 530-mile body of water known as the Hamilton River until 1966, weren’t unknown during the Second World War.
However, there is no evidence of submarine conflict in the Churchill River, and experts are questioning what a submarine would be doing so far from the Atlantic and how it would have sunk.
“I’d be surprised if a submarine wound up there,” Noakes said.
The German government says it would be “sensational and unusual” for one of its submarines to have ended up so far inland, though it conceded it’s possible, the CBC reported.
“We do know that German U-boats did operate in that region,” Georg Juergens, deputy head of mission for the German Embassy in Ottawa, told the CBC. “We must brace ourselves for surprises.”