WARSAW, Poland — Two treasure hunters who claim to have found a Nazi train filled with gold in Poland discovered it by following a map drawn up by one of the people who hid it around 70 years ago, a Polish government minister said Friday.
The map was drawn by a man who helped conceal the carriages at the end of World War II and passed it on "on his deathbed," Poland's Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski said. He did not give any more details on the map's creator or how the men obtained it.
The deputy minister said he was "more than 99 percent sure that the train is there," but stopped short of confirming the claim that it was filled with gold, weapons and valuable art.
Zuchowski said officials had been able to locate the 100-yard-long military train using ground-penetrating radar.
"We do not know what is inside. Probably military materials, some kind of jewelry, art and archives," he said, calling the find "unprecedented."
He added that the train could contain "valuables, but it could contain also dangerous materials from the Second World War."
Two tipsters, a Polish and a German national, said last week they found the train hidden underground near the Polish city of Walbrzych. The deputy minister said if the find was confirmed the pair would receive a 10 percent finders' fee.
The reported find has sparked a flood of other treasure hunters to flock to the area. But Zuchowski warned people to stay away because the train may be booby-trapped.
"There is a huge probability that the train is mined," he said in a statement Thursday, without providing an explanation for his theory.
The rumor of a lost Nazi train filled with gold is a well-known locally. It apparently went missing inside air raid tunnels during the advance of the Soviet Army towards Berlin in 1945.
Some believe that a top Nazi commander put stolen gold and bank deposits from the city of Wroclaw on a train that left the city.
Żuchowski said he was sure there was such a "gold train" in existence, but did not confirm that it was the one found near Walbrzych.