Salvaging operation of the Lancaster ED470

September 23, 1944, a British bomber of the type Avro Lancaster III crashed at the Humeloseweg near Zelhem (NL). The plane landed almost vertically. Because part of the bombload was still present on board, there was a huge explosion, killing six of the seven crew members. The plane wreck and its crew have never been officially recovered. The municipality of Bronkhorst decided to salvage the aircraft wreck for safety reasons and out of piety for the next of kin.

The municipality had several goals: cleaning up contamination and UXO,  but also creating a more concrete picture of what had taken place for the family memebers of the deceased crew members and their commemoration. In addition, the results were used for educational purposes.

Execution
Because of the risk of explosives in the subsoil, it was of great importance to carry the work out safely. The salvage operations were therefore carried out under current legislation and archaeological supervision

End result
October 23, 2013, evidence was found that the crashed plane was indeed the Lancaster ED470. When cleaning the last recovered parts, a piece of armor plate appeared with the number 470. This made it possible to identify the plane crashed in Zelhem. No large explosives or material remains have been found in the crater. After the salvage operation, the detection area could be declared free of explosives.