The news has been abuzz with the story coming out of Poland this summer about long-forgotten Nazi gold possibly sitting buried in a mountainside tunnel. Unfortunately, it seems that one enterprising treasure hunter took the hunt too far.
A 39-year-old man was apparently searching for secret tunnels dug by the Nazis, following the widely-reported discovery of hidden armored trucks in the mountains of Wałbrzych, Poland. Adding fuel to the gold fervor is the fact that Polish authorities have all but confirmed the findings, claiming 99% certainty that the train—located by ground-penetrating radar—indeed exists, measuring perhaps 100 meters long.
Adding intrigue to the tragedy is the fact that the man and his partners were attempting to access the network of tunnels dug by the Nazis through a nearby cemetery, desecrating tombs in the process. The two surviving colleagues have been arrested.
Apparently willing to risk his safety in order to recover the lost treasure, the bold adventure-seeker fell to his death by falling down a pit beneath the tombs. The two treasure hunters who originally publicized the discovery of the gold train have been forced to scale back their claims due to the high-profile nature of the story. Clearly, some members of the public have been driven to extreme measures by the prospect of uncovering the gold and other valuables that are supposedly hidden within the train.
After the two initial finders went to the authorities with their findings, the Polish government began seriously looking into the matter. Although a great deal of other circumstantial evidence points to their claims being true, such as old, pre-WWII maps that indicate the location of the tunnels, there are at least two roadblocks to the immediate excavation of the site.
First, considering the train and its potentially valuable cargo were hidden away by the Nazis, it’s likely that the area is extensively booby-trapped with land mines or other hazards. It makes sense that if the Nazi army cared enough about the contents of the train to hide it, they would also go to lengths to keep it protected from curious treasure-seekers.
Second, there is apparently a great deal of overgrowth and brush that has accumulated over the decades since the train was originally stowed away. A lieutenant for the Polish army said that the area had been inspected and authorities were working out the logistics of clearing the brush before proceeding.
You can read an English translation of the news story originally published in the Polish media here.