No Spitfires buried in Myanmar, firm says

YANGON, Myanmar — A global video gaming company that funded a high-profile hunt for dozens of World War II-era British fighters in Myanmar has some bad news for aviation enthusiasts: It says none of the legendary planes are buried in the Southeast Asian country.

Excavation teams carrying out surveys on the ground, however, said Saturday that they would not give up the search.

The hunt for the lost planes was launched amid hope that as many as 140 rare Spitfires were hidden in crates in pristine condition in three locations in Myanmar.

But the Belarusian video gaming company Wargaming.net, which had backed the venture, said in a statement late Friday that the planes were never even delivered to the country by Allied forces as the war drew to a close nearly 70 years ago.

“The Wargaming team now believes, based on clear documentary evidence, as well as the evidence from the fieldwork, that no Spitfires were delivered in crates and buried” in Myanmar between 1945 and 1946, the statement said.

Archival records indicated that the British unit handling shipments at the time received only 37 aircraft, but “none of the crates contained Spitfires and most appear to have been re-exported,” said the company, which is best known for its multiplayer titles including “World of Warplanes” and “World of Tanks.”

Moreover, “appalling weather” and shortages of heavy equipment and manpower would have made it “almost impossible” to bury the massive crates, the company said.

On Saturday, however, the search venture’s local partners said they would not give up and were still conducting surveys near the international airport in Yangon, Myanmar’s main city, as well as the northern town of Mytikina.

“I am very confident that the planes are buried in both places. Excavation is a time-consuming task, but I strongly believe that we will be able to extract the planes,” said Soe Thein, a retired Myanmar geology professor who has assisted in the recovery operation.

Htoo Htoo Zaw, whose company is partnered with British aviation enthusiast David J. Cundall in the search, said representatives from Wargaming.net left before the survey was complete and could not say definitively whether there were planes or not.

The Spitfire remains Britain’s most famous combat aircraft. Its reputation was cemented during the Battle of Britain, when the fast-moving single-seater aircraft helped beat back waves of German bombers.

Britain built a total of about 20,000 Spitfires, although the dawn of the jet age at the end of World War II meant that the propeller-driven planes quickly became obsolete.

More in Local News

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

They chose the longshot candidate to fill a vacant seat

Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick will serve as representative for the 39th legislative district.

Definitely not Christmas in July for parched young trees

“I live in Washington. I should not have to water a Christmas tree,” says one grower. But they did.

Marysville babysitter faces jail time in infant’s death

Medical experts differed over whether it was head trauma or illness that caused the baby to die.

Whether cheers or jeers, DeVos appearance will rouse spirits

Trump’s secretary of education is coming to Bellevue to raise money for a pro-business think tank.

Superior Court judge admits DUI on freeway

Prosecutors recommend a “standard” penalty for Marybeth Dingledy, who “is terribly sorry.”

Self-defense or murder? Trial begins in shooting death

Explanations as to why a man was shot in the back on a Bothell cul-de-sac are starkly different.

Golfers help Pink the Rink

The fundraiser to aid breast cancer research culminates with a Nov. 4 Silvertips game.

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Alliance plans meeting to discuss future of the Everett Station

Key themes are economic development, parking, green space, safety, and transportation connections

Most Read