Up to 60 Spitfire fighters found buried in Asia

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar has signed a deal with a British aviation enthusiast to allow the excavation of a World War II treasure: dozens of Spitfire fighter planes buried by the British almost 70 years ago.

Aviation enthusiast David J. Cundall discovered the locations of the aircraft after years of searching. The planes are believed to be in good condition, since they were reportedly packed in crates and hidden by British forces to keep them out of the hands of invading Japanese.

The British Embassy said Wednesday that the agreement was reached after discussions between President Thein Sein and British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to Myanmar earlier this year.

The excavation of the rare planes is slated to begin by the end of October.

The Myanma Ahlin daily reported that the excavation agreement was signed Tuesday by Director General of Civil Aviation Tin Naing Tun, Cundall on behalf of his British company DJC, and Htoo Htoo, managing director of Cundall’s Myanmar partner, the Shwe Taung Paw company.

“It took 16 years for Mr. David Cundall to locate the planes buried in crates. We estimate that there are at least 60 Spitfires buried and they are in good condition,” Htoo Htoo Zaw said.

“This will be the largest number of Spitfires in the world,” he said. “We want to let people see those historic fighters, and the excavation of these fighter planes will further strengthen relations between Myanmar and Britain.”

The British Embassy described the agreement as a chance to work with Myanmar’s new reformist government “in uncovering, restoring, displaying these fighter planes.”

“We hope that many of them will be gracing the skies of Britain and as discussed, some will be displayed here in Burma,” said an embassy spokesman, using the old name for Myanmar.

Myanmar has since last the past year turned away from many of the repressive policies of the previous military government and patched up relations with Western nations that had previously shunned it.

Myanma Ahlin cited Transport Minister Nyan Tun Aung saying the agreement was a milestone strengthening the friendly relationship between Myanmar and Britain and amounts to the British government’s recognition of the democratic reforms of President Thein Sein’s new government.

Cundall has said his quest to find the planes involved 12 trips to Myanmar and the expenditure of more than $210,000.

More in Local News

Food stuffs for a local chapter of A Simple Gesture at Fitness Evolution, the communal pick-up point, in Arlington on Jan. 12. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
There’s an easier way to donate to food banks

Grab a green bag, fill it gradually with grocery items — and someone will pick it up from your home.

Lake Stevens man shot by deputies reportedly was suicidal

The fatal shooting is the latest incident where someone apparently wanted police to fire.

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Suspect: Marysville church fire ignited by burning shoelaces

The 21-year-old told police it was an accident, but he’s under investigation for second-degree arson.

Police seek witnesses to Marysville hit-and-run

A Seattle man suffered broken bones in the accident.

Tracking device leads police to bank robbery suspect

The man walked into a Wells Fargo around 3:15 Tuesday and told the teller he had a bomb.

Mayor, others break ground on low-barrier housing in Everett

Somers: The complex is expected to save lives and “really shows the heart of this community.”

Volunteers conduct annual count of homeless population

They worked througha standard set of questions to learn why people have ended up where they are.

Former Everett councilman also sued his employer, the county

Ron Gipson says he suffered racial discrimination related to an investigation into sexual harassment.

Most Read