British team to search for lost Spitfires
YANGON, Myanmar — A search team led by a British aviation enthusiast arrived in Myanmar on Sunday to begin a dig they hope will unearth dozens of rare British Spitfire fighter planes said to have been buried in the Southeast Asian country at the end of World War II.
The 21-member team led by David Cundall, a farmer and businessman, will start excavations soon near the airport in the main city, Yangon.
Cundall said the aircraft were buried in wooden crates around 30 feet under the ground and the project would take about four to six weeks to complete.
“We are expecting them to be in first-class condition,” Cundall said shortly after arriving at the international airport in Yangon.
The Spitfire remains Britain's most famous combat aircraft. Its reputation was cemented during the Battle of Britain when the fast-moving single-seater airplane helped beat back waves of German bombers.
Britain built a total of about 20,000 Spitfires, although the dawn of the jet age at the end of World War II meant that the propeller-driven planes quickly became obsolete.
The planes believed to be in Myanmar were buried by American engineers as the war drew to a close. Searchers hope they are in pristine condition, but Andy Brockman, a freelance archaeologist who is part of the search team, said it was possible all they might find is a mass of corroded metal and rusty aircraft parts.
Nevertheless, he said, “I'm very confident that we'll have answers to the story of what happened ... in 1945.”
The venture is being backed by the Belarusian videogame company Wargaming.net, which is best known for its multiplayer titles including “World of Warplanes” and “World of Tanks.”
The search team says 36 Spitfires are believed to be buried near Yangon airport, while another 18 are in Myitkyina in northern Kachin state and six more are buried in Meikthila in central Myanmar.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cuba lays out list of demands for improved relations
- Leader of Venezuelan congress denies bodyguard’s allegations
- ISIS affiliate claims hotel bombing in Libya that killed 10, including American
- Jordan agrees to ISIS swap, releasing suicide bomber to get pilot back
- Obama ‘pays respects’ to late Saudi Arabian monarch
- Ex-Russian spy Litvinenko poisoned twice, lawyer says
- Leaders mark Auschwitz liberation 70 years on without Putin
- More than 30 Filipino police commandos killed in clash with rebels
- Release terrorist, or 2 will be killed, ISIS vows
- Britain, Australia join effort to rescue Japanese hostages
- Luxury Libyan hotel attacked by terrorists