This footage shows the moment searchers locate a hospital ship sunk in the Black Sea by Nazi bombers during World War II that sank in minutes with the loss of between 6,000 and 10,000 lives.
The sunken ship, the Armenia, was packed with the sick, medical staff, and women and children who were being evacuated, and sank almost immediately after it was hit. The wreck has now been found after a 20-year-search on the sea bottom, 27 kilometres (16.7 miles) off Yalta Port in the city of the same name in the disputed Crimean Peninsula.
According to the Russian Geographical Society, who carried out the search, the Armenia was built in Leningrad in 1928.
In 1941, the vessel was rebuilt to provide military ambulance services and transport in Odessa.
On 6th November 1941, several thousand people boarded the ship in Sevastopol, the largest city on the Crimean Peninsula.
Among them were residents, doctors and wounded patients as well as workers of the Artek pioneer camp with their families. Due to the panic of the sudden evacuation, no calculations were ever made of the exact numbers.
However, different sources stated there were between 6,000 and 10,000 passengers on board.
In comparison, when the Titanic sank on 15th April 1912, 1,500 people lost their lives.
According to the reports, the ship left the port of Sevastopol to travel to the ports of Balaklava and Yalta. On 7th November, it turned towards the Russian town of Tuapse and was attacked by Nazi bombers a few hours later.
The ship sunk in just four minutes and only a few people survived.
American oceanologist Robert Ballard, 77, was involved in the 20-year search for the vessel at one stage. Ballard is most known for the discoveries of the wrecks of the RMS Titanic in 1985, the battleship Bismarck in 1989, and the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in 1998.
The Armenia was discovered in March 2020 and scientists have been using unmanned remote-controlled underwater vehicles to study the wreck as this footage shows.
Researchers learned that the ship did not split and stood on an even keel in one piece.
Russian Geographical Society manager Sergey Fokin said there was no question that they had found the Armenia as the ship’s name was displayed in many areas of the wreck.
Fokin confirmed that the superstructure and decks were destroyed, indicating an air attack.
The ship’s structure did not have any holes, refuting accounts that it was sunk by torpedoes.
Researchers continue to study the sunken vessel.
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Story By: Gheorghi Caraseni, Sub Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
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