The venture, backed with a million-dollar guarantee from a Belarusian videogame company, could uncover dozens of Spitfire aircraft locked underground by American engineers at the end of World War II.
"We could easily double the number of Spitfires that are still known to exist," said 63-year-old David Cundall, the farmer and private pilot who has spent nearly two decades pursuing the theory that 36 of the famous fighter planes were buried, still in excellent condition, in wooden crates in a riverbed at the end of an airport runway.
"In the Spitfire world it will be similar to finding Tutankhamen's tomb," he told reporters at a media conference held in a London airport hotel Friday.
Not everyone is as convinced. Even at the conference, freelance archaeologist Andy Brockman acknowledged that it was "entirely possible" that all the team would find was a mass of corroded metal -- if it found anything at all.
But Cundall said eyewitness testimony -- from British and American veterans as well as elderly local residents of Myanmar -- coupled with survey data, aerial pictures, and ground radar soundings left him in no doubt that the planes were down there.
More Nation & World Headlines
Alabama closes driverís license offices in black areas Spain grants citizenship to 4,300 with Sephardic Jewish roots Navy official charged in junk-silencers case Farmer finds mammoth bones in field Rockwell painting to be sold to benefit National Press Club Fate of U.S. ship, crew uncertain in hurricane Jeb Bush on Oregon shootings: Stuff happens David Cassidy charged with sideswiping truck, fleeing scene
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.