It’s 1989, and some hikers are out for a ramble through the Russian backwoods close to Saint Petersburg. As the group pick their way through forest and marshland, though, one of them spots something chilling: what looks like a Nazi swastika through a dense stand of trees. Then, as the hikers draw closer, it becomes apparent that the insignia is painted on the tail fin of an almost entirely intact – albeit decaying – German WWII fighter plane. But how on Earth had the craft ended up there in the first place?
Well, although the fuselage and wings were both in good order, it seems that the plane had crash-landed into the marsh – an ordeal that the pilot would nevertheless have likely survived. And while the propeller had noticeably gone through wear and tear, the cockpit glass, on the other hand, remained curiously unbroken. Inside the plane, meanwhile, a leather flying helmet lay on the seat, and while the instrument dials were a little battered, they were nevertheless plain to see. Owing to the overall lack of combat damage, then, it really didn’t look as though the plane had been shot down.