David Cundall and his 21 man team have arrived in Myanmar to begin the search for dozens of British Spitfire fighter planes that were have said to have been buried at the end of World War II.
The 21-member team, led by farmer and businessman David Cundall, will start excavations soon near the airport in the main city, Yangon.
Cundall said the aircraft were buried in wooden crates as surplus, around 30 feet (10 meters) under the surface. He estimated that 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 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 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. source
Some interesting facts about the Spitfire:
- More than 20,000 Spitfires were built in 24 different ‘Marks’.
- The plane first flew in the RAF in 1938 and was retired by 1957
- One of the proposed names for the fighter was ‘The Shrew’
- Its designer RJ Mitchell only lived long enough to see the prototype fly in 1937
- The Mark 1 fought during the Battle of Britain. The Mark IX was used over Normandy
- Making a propeller to fit a restored plane today costs £55,000
- Fuel costs £500 an hour and the insurance is £50,000 a year
Love the sound of the spitfire, it never gets old.