The Bristol Beaufighter Type 156 (often called the Beau) is a multi-role aircraft developed during the Second World War by the Bristol Aeroplane Company in the UK. It was originally conceived as a heavy fighter variant of the Bristol Beaufort torpedo bomber. The Beaufighter proved to be an effective night fighter, which came into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Battle of Britain, its large size allowing it to carry heavy armament and early airborne interception radar without major performance penalties.
At a depth of 34 meters off the coast of Naxos, approximately half a nautical mile from the coast, divers found a RAF Bristol Beaufighter in 2007. Based on testimonies of fishermen, but also the inhabitants who had seen the events, this specific Beaufighter was shot down after destroying a German Airplane type Arado Ar 196 during an anti-shipping mission in November 1943.
“As we get closer we see that the aircraft is in almost undamaged condition. It looks like it landed there with care and skill, but of course this belongs only to the realm of our imagination since no airplane will not “choose” to land 34 meters below the sea surface” says acclaimed photographer and scuba diver Giorgos Rigoutsos. A piece of the rudder over the tail fins is missing, and some bullet holes in the side of the aircraft suffered by anti-aircraft fire vividly demonstrate what caused the twin engined aircraft to ditch at sea. The cone at the airplane’s nose, made of thin metal, has eroded and is now close to the aircraft.
Depth at the bottom: 33 m
Level of diver training: Advanced Diver +20 Dives
Diving type: Wreck
Diving period: Whole year
Visibility max: 20m
Water temperature: 14-26°C
Available from: Boat
Currents: Not strong