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The BBC's Asad Ahmad
"The latest effort to secure the ultimate proof"
 real 56k

Expedtition leader, Jan Sundberg
Speaks BBC Scotland's Jackie O'Brien
 real 28k

Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Monster hunt hopes to net Nessie
Photo of Loch Ness
Many claim to have photographed the "monster"
A multi-million pound project resumes at Loch Ness in Scotland on Tuesday to try to find out whether the monster, Nessie, really exists.

The Swedish-based team will be using hi-tech sonar equipment to scour the Loch for any large, unusual shapes.

Expedition leader Jan Sundberg says there have been so many sightings of Nessie that there must be some truth in the legend.

Past expeditions failed to trace the monster because they did not have the sophisticated sonar equipment available to his team, Mr Sundberg said.

If there is something there we will find it this week

Jan Sundberg

"If there is something there we will find it this week, if we don't there might not be something there," he added.

White witch

But the monster hunters will not only have the elements and Nessie to contend with.

A white witch is planning to cast a blocking spell on the team to try and prevent them catching Nessie and taking her DNA samples.

Kevin Carlyon, a High Priest in the British Coven of White Witches, plans to sail out onto the loch and cast a bad luck spell on the researchers.

He said: "It will basically stop anyone catching or harming Nessie either now or in the future.

"People do not want Mr Sundberg or others disturbing Nessie."

History of 'sightings'

But Mr Sundberg, 53, a member of the Global Underwater Search Team, from Montala, Sweden, said the search would continue.

The team plans to cast a huge cylindrical "serpent trap" into the shallow parts of the loch.

Although Nessie is thought to live in the depths that he and his team think she is related to the eel and would go to the shallows regularly, Mr Sundberg said.

The first sighting of Nessie on the 24-mile loch is reported to have been by St Columba in 565AD.

Since then there have been intermittent sightings, but it was in the 1930s that the Nessie boom began, after a road was opened alongside the loch.

Since then thousands claimed to have spotted her and some say they have even photographed her.

Each year at least 500,000 tourists flock from all over the world to the loch in the hope of catching a glimpse of the monster, and they spend up to 25m in the Loch Ness area.

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See also:

24 Oct 00 | Scotland
Storm hits Nessie 'fishing' plan
04 Jan 01 | Scotland
Nessie protection plan drawn up
08 Jul 99 | UK
Nessie hosts hunters
09 Feb 99 | Sci/Tech
Nessie on the Net
21 Mar 01 | Scotland
Battle brewing over Nessie hunt
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