THE only surviving German Second World War Dornier Do 17 bomber has been lifted from its resting place in the English Channel.
The aircraft was shot down off the Kent coast more than 70 years ago during the Battle of Britain, and the project is believed to be the biggest recovery of its kind in British waters.
Attempts by the RAF Museum to raise the relic over the last few weeks have been hit by strong winds. But yesterday the operation finally succeeded, and today the museum was hoping to be able to tow the raised aircraft into port.
The team last attempted to lift the aircraft on June 2. But bad weather thwarted that attempt within 40 minutes of success, when a sudden increase in winds made the sea too choppy to complete the lift.
The plan – three years in the making – was adapted and involved attaching lifting equipment to what were believed to be the strongest parts of the aircraft's frame and raising it whole, in a single lift instead of constructing a cage around it, which had been the original plan.
The existence of the aircraft at Goodwin Sands became known when it was spotted by divers in 2008 at a depth of some 50ft lying on a chalk bed with a small debris field around it.