OSLO, Norway -- A Turkish museum has asked a Norwegian firm to locate the wreckage of what Turkish historians have called a manned rocket that fell into the waters off Turkey in 1633, a company spokesman said Monday.
'The search for the rocket is planned for this winter provided that a suitable partner can be found for the project,' said Svein Kjar, managing director of Marest Ltd., a firm specializing in maritime maps and ocean surveying.
'From a technical viewpoint, this doesnt seem like a very difficult operation. We should be able to locate the rocket in a fairly short time once we get started,' Kjar said.
According to documents the Air Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, that were sent to the Norwegian firm, the wreck of the steel rocket lies at a depth of 90 feet not far from shore.'
Turkish historical records show that Lagari Hasan Celebi, a Turk, made a flight in the steel, gunpowder-powered rocket in 1633 to amuse the daughter of Sultan Murad Khan IV on her birthday.
Celebi apparently jumped from the rocket 300 yards above the Bosporus, the strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, landing with the aid of what is called 'eagle wings.'
'Who knows?' Kjar said. 'This was probably the first hang-glider.' Celebi was later appointed the sultan's rocket officer.
He said the spot where the three yard steel rocket is thought to lie has been located 'fairly accurately by the Turkish authorities.'
'To start with, we will be using a so-called boomer which is capable of locating metal objects down to 10 feet under the sea bed at a depth of up to 150 feet,' Kjar said.
'If we find indications of a metal object of this size we will then go down and remove the mud and sand which must undoubtedly be covering it after such a long time,' he said.