Marine engineers laying an electricity cable beneath the Irish Sea may have stumbled into the wreck of a WW1 German submarine which folklore says was attacked by an enormous sea monster with large eyes and glistening teeth.
The wreck appears to be that of the fabled UB-85, a U-boat that has been wrapped in mystery since her sinking on April 30, 1918.
According to official reports, the submarine was sunk by a British patrol boat - the HMS Coreopsis - after it was caught on the surface of the water off the coast of Belfast, Ireland.
Partially flooded through a not completely closed hatch as it dove to evade the Coreopsis' gunfire, the UB-85 resurfaced and was hastily abandoned by her crew of 34. The men surrendered without resistance to the surprise of their British counterparts.
The reason behind the men's odd behavior was some sort of Loch Ness' saltwater cousin, if one believes an old sea tale.
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The story goes that the sub was recharging batteries on the surface at night when a "strange beast" rose from the sea. Captain Günther Krech described a "beast" with "large eyes, set in a horny sort of skull. It had a small head, but with teeth that could be seen glistening in the moonlight."
"Every man on watch began firing a sidearm at the beast," Krech is believed to have said.
Though the animal dropped back into the sea, the forward deck plating was damaged and the sub could no longer submerge. This was the reason why the British could catch the submarine on the surface, the tale concluded.
"This is probably an Internet myth," Innes McCartney, a historian, nautical archaeologist and honorary research fellow at Bournemouth University, told Seeker.
The sub was found during an underwater survey for the Western Link project, a joint venture between SP Energy Networks and National Grid, which plans to lay one of the world's largest subsea power cables, connecting Scotland and England.
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"The images we get back from the subsea scans are incredibly detailed," Peter Roper, senior project manager at SP Energy Networks, said in a statement.
"We obviously need to be aware of what lies beneath before we can start laying a power cable. In all the years I have been building power lines, I can say that this is the most extraordinary discovery," he added.
Indeed, sonar images show the 100-year-old submarine largely intact on the sea floor in the North Channel, off THE coast of Stranraer in southwest Scotland.
The vessel is about approximately 147 feet long, with debris spilling out of the stern end.
McCartney said that at least 12 British and German submarines are known to have sunk in the waters of the Irish Sea. The features of the wreck confirm it was a UBIII-Class submarine. Only two of such subs were lost in the area - the UB-85 and its sister boat UB-82.
"The archaeology of the site, namely some late-war features such as the larger deck cannon, is the strongest evidence pointing to the UB-85," McCartney said.
We're certainly closer to solving the so-called mystery of UB-85 and the reason behind its sinking - whether common mechanical failure or something that is less easily explained," McCartney said.
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