Explorers discover Loch Ness monster in depths of Scottish lake
It could have been the discovery of the century: the 30ft body of a monster on the bottom of Loch Ness, spotted by a scientific survey.
But radar scans appearing to show a perfectly formed Loch Ness Monster have left hunters disappointed, after the remains were identified as a long-lost 1970s film prop.
What had been discovered is now known to be none other than the creation used in the Billy Wilder film 'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes', starring Christopher Lee.
The film tells the story of a bored Holmes taking on the case of a beautiful woman and her missing husband in a hunt leading them to Loch Ness and a quasi-realistic model of the monster itself.
The model, which accidentally sank during filming, was found on the loch bed during the latest scientific survey of the 230m deep stretch of water.
A marine robot, named Munin, is being used to explore areas that have not been reached before.
A spokesman for VisitScotland, which is supporting the project, said: "Operation Groundtruth has uncovered a recognisable creature.
"Although it is the shape of Nessie, it is not the remains of the monster that has mystified the world for 80 years, but a star of the silver screen."
In the 1970 film, "Nessie" turned out to be a disguised naval submarine. The mock monster was created under the supervision of special effects artist Wally Veevers. Veevers, who worked on '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'Superman', had created it with two buoyant humps to keep it afloat during scenes on the water.
Adrian Shine, founder of the Loch Ness Project, claimed Wilder "did not want the humps and asked that they be removed, despite warnings I suspect from the rest of the production that this would affect its buoyancy."
He said: "And the inevitable happened. The model sank."
Veevers is said to have been comforted by the director and his team. The head and shoulders of a new monster were later constructed so filming could be finished, but they were kept safely in captivity in a studio water tank.
The model Nessie joins an extensive list of underwater Loch Ness discoveries which have turned out not to be the famous monster. They include a crashed Second World War bomber, a 100-year-old fishing vessel and parts of Crusader, John Cobb's craft for a speed record attempt, which crashed at more than 200mph in 1952.