Bulgarian man looking to return watch that survived 1955 El Al crash

A man who has held on to a watch recovered from an El Al flight that was shot down in Bulgaria 64 years ago is looking to return it to relatives of its former owner, the Ynet news site reports.

Flight 402 from London to Tel Aviv was shot down by Bulgarian fighter jets in 1955, killing all 58 people aboard, after it strayed off its flight path, possibly because of bad weather.

According to Ynet, a memorial service was held recently at the site of the crash near the city of Petrich for the first time. At the end of the ceremony, a local who says his father recovered the Swiss timepiece from wreckage of the crashed plane approached the Israeli delegation and asked to help him return the watch.

Little remains of the watch, which was seemingly taken apart at some point, but the ambassador to Bulgaria tells Ynet she is committed to trying to help find its owner.

“On the back is written that it was made in Switzerland and there is an illegible stamp — maybe a symbol of the factory or name of some body,” Irit Lillian tells Ynet. “It’s definitely a complicated mission, but I can’t say we are hopeless.”

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