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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
U-boat remains found off Canada
By Lee Carter
BBC, Toronto

German U-boat
Several U-boats were deployed off America's Atlantic coast
A team of divers and documentary film makers have found the wreck of a German U-boat off eastern Canada.

The submarine was sunk in 1942 during World War II, preventing it from completing its mission to lay mines in the harbour of the US city of Boston.

U-boat 215 is the first confirmed Nazi submarine found in Canadian waters.

During World War II plenty of German U-boats were deployed off the Atlantic coast of North America, sinking naval vessels and merchant ships.

The German captain thought about how many German lives he might save if he could sink that ship, but in doing so he exposed himself - the hunter became the hunted
Diver Mike Fletcher
But U-215 had a special secret mission.

It was ordered to the American port city of Boston to mine the harbour.

But the German captain of the U-boat spotted an American ship loaded with tanks and bombers.

Mike Fletcher, a Canadian diver who helped find the U-boat, says it was then that the German captain made a fatal mistake.

"To him it must have been a tantalising target that he probably should have passed by," he said.

"But he thought about those weapons and he thought about how many German lives he might save if he could sink that ship. But in doing so he exposed himself. The hunter became the hunted."

Watery grave

Ignoring orders, the sub torpedoed the American ship, USS Alexander McComb.

But a British Royal Navy ship counter-attacked, sinking the Nazi submarine with depth charges.

For 62 years it has been sitting in its watery grave off the coast of Nova Scotia.

The team used sonar and conducted two dives to the sunken vessel while battling strong tides and currents.

Mr Fletcher says his team could see live mines still inside the wreck and it is presumed the remains of the forty-nine crew members are also still inside.

The U-boat is likely to become the property of Germany and in the past it has been customary to leave sunken vessels alone.

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