Breaking News Emails
WALBRZYCH, Poland - Soldiers and explosives experts began a six-day operation Monday to check for mines a site in Poland where authorities suspect a Nazi-era train, possibly carrying guns and looted gold, is buried.
Military personnel using specialist equipment arrived at the wooded area in Walbrzych, western Poland to check the area for unexploded ordnance or booby traps.
They will search up to three feet below the surface of the area, checking for anything that could endanger municipal workers who are due to begin excavations after Oct. 3 in search of the train.
"A group of soldiers assigned to this task is starting the process of checking this area, a very limited one, whether there are any dangerous materials over there," Walbrzych mayor Roman Szelemej told NBC News.
"After this stage of the process we'll be probably receiving kind of a report telling us whether it's safe enough ... to continue the process of exploring."
He said the train "could be full of military items, of devices including mines, including some chemicals substances," adding that "hopefully it's safe."
According to local folklore, a train loaded with jewels and weapons was stored in a tunnel by retreating forces of Nazi Germany in 1945 and never discovered.
Two amateur treasure hunters — a German and a Pole — said in August they had located the train, and said it should be exhumed and displayed as a tourist attraction.
However, Piotr Zuchowski, Poland's deputy culture minister, warned treasure hunters to stay away from the area, saying that there was “a huge probability” that the train is mined.
Some believe the train was loaded with gold and bank deposits stolen by Nazi commanders from the nearby city of Wroclaw.
The search for explosives is being conducted away from public view in an area close to a highway and a nearby railway track.
Szelemej explained: "We are not looking for gold, looking for treasures, we are looking for something that is materializing the history of the last part of the Second World War, the Nazi era in Europe and also in Walbrzych."