Experts fly off on Spitfire hunt
Published 05/01/2013 | 03:20
Experts have flown out to Burma in a bid to unearth dozens of missing British Spitfires thought to have been buried in the jungle at the end of the Second World War.
They will search for unused unassembled aircraft which they believe were packed into crates and buried by the RAF in 1945.
Some 36 planes are thought to be lying undiscovered in Mingaladon - one of three potential sites in the country - with as many as 124 buried in total.
Farmer and aviation enthusiast David Cundall, from Lincolnshire, is spearheading the dig, having spent 17 years and thousands of pounds researching the project.
He and his team, which includes archaeologists, scientists and researchers from the University of Leeds, were said to be "confident" of success as they prepare to start their dig on Monday.
Frazer Nash, spokesman for gaming website Wargaming.net, which is funding the project, said: "David doesn't feel nervous - far from from it. He's confident about what he's doing.
"He's got funding to carry out his dream. But it's not like Time Team where we'll see results in a few days. There'll be plenty of work to do once the dig starts before the Spitfires can be unearthed."
Mr Cundall has voiced plans to return the plans to Britain for restoration to allow them to be flown again.
The 21-strong excavation team includes British war veteran Stanley Coombe, from Eastbourne, who responded to Mr Cundall's appeal for witnesses who saw the Mark XIV Spitfires being buried 68 years ago.
Mr Coombe, now in his early 90s, was stationed in Burma at the end of the Second World War and is one of eight eye-witnesses to have come forward.