Spitfire fighter planes to be dug up in Myanmar

Myanmar has signed a deal with a British aviation enthusiast to allow the excavation of a World War II treasure: dozens of Spitfire fighter planes buried by the British almost 70 years ago.

FILE - In this Sept. 28, 1941 file photo, Spitfires, subscribed for by the people of Assam, are now operating with fighter command of the Royal Air Force, at an airfield somewhere in England. (AP Photo)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar has signed a deal with a British aviation enthusiast to allow the excavation of a World War II treasure: dozens of Spitfire fighter planes buried by the British almost 70 years ago.

Aviation enthusiast David J. Cundall discovered the locations of the aircraft after years of searching. The planes are believed to be in good condition, since they were reportedly packed in crates and hidden by British forces to keep them out of the hands of invading Japanese.

The British Embassy said Wednesday that the agreement was reached after discussions between President Thein Sein and British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to Myanmar earlier this year.

The excavation of the rare planes is slated to begin by the end of October.

The Myanma Ahlin daily reported that the excavation agreement was signed Tuesday by Director General of Civil Aviation Tin Naing Tun, Cundall on behalf of his British company DJC, and Htoo Htoo, managing director of Cundall's Myanmar partner, the Shwe Taung Paw company.

"It took 16 years for Mr. David Cundall to locate the planes buried in crates. We estimate that there are at least 60 Spitfires buried and they are in good condition," Htoo Htoo Zaw said.

"This will be the largest number of Spitfires in the world," he said. "We want to let people see those historic fighters, and the excavation of these fighter planes will further strengthen relations between Myanmar and Britain."

The British Embassy described the agreement as a chance to work with Myanmar's new reformist government "in uncovering, restoring, displaying these fighter planes."

"We hope that many of them will be gracing the skies of Britain and as discussed, some will be displayed here in Burma," said an embassy spokesman, using the old name for Myanmar.

Myanmar has since last the past year turned away from many of the repressive policies of the previous military government and patched up relations with Western nations that had previously shunned it.

Myanma Ahlin cited Transport Minister Nyan Tun Aung saying the agreement was a milestone strengthening the friendly relationship between Myanmar and Britain and amounts to the British government's recognition of the democratic reforms of President Thein Sein's new government.

Cundall has said his quest to find the planes involved 12 trips to Myanmar and the expenditure of more than 130,000 pounds ($210,000).

Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 174562691 - local8now.com/a?a=174562691
Gray Television, Inc.