The search for several lost Spitfire planes that were packed in crates and buried in Burma toward the end of World War II may be over. David Cundall’s 17-year quest to unearth the long-lost planes has cost him his life savings. A news conference today reports that searchers have found a crate buried in muck in Myitkyina. Photos from a camera lowered into the wet ground were inconclusive, but Cundall is encouraged by the discovery.
Cundall told reporters in Rangoon, Burma’s main city:
“We’ve gone into a box, but we have hit this water problem. It’s murky water and we can’t really see very far. It will take some time to pump the water out… but I do expect all aircraft to be in very good condition.”
If the historic aircraft is indeed hidden in the crate, Cundall, an elderly British farmer who has been competing with others to find the planes, will have been finally vindicated for all his trouble and expense. He also hopes to win the right to unearth them from the secretive Burmese government, says FOX News.
Cundall’s team is confident they’re digging in the right place due to information provided by 91-year-old war veteran Stanley Coombe. Coombe witnessed American and British engineers burying the Spitfires, which were in their crates, greased and wrapped, on British military orders. The location of the crate possibly containing an unassembled plane may be one of several.
Coombe, ever excited himself, stated:
“I never thought I would be allowed to come back and see where Spitfires have been buried. It’s been a long time since anybody believed what I said until David Cundall came along.”
If Cundall has indeed found one of the planes and finds several others under Burmese permission, the Burma’s government will get half of what is recovered, one of which would be displayed at a museum.
As many as 140 Spitfires are believed to have been buried in perfect condition in Myanmar by American engineers, according to the Washington Post.
The search team hopes to find over a dozen planes in Myitkyina and quite a few more buried at Yangon’s international airport. It is believed that over a hundred Spitfires could be buried across the country, and the common hope is to eventually get one of them airborne once more.