Oct 17 2012 By Cheryl Mullin
BURMA has signed a deal with a British aviation enthusiast to allow the excavation of dozens of vintage Spitfire fighter planes that have been buried since the Second World War.
The British Embassy said that the agreement was reached after discussions between president Thein Sein and David Cameron during his visit to Burma earlier this year.
Aviation enthusiast David Cundall discovered the locations of the planes 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.
Excavating is due to begin by the end of October.
Htoo Htoo, managing director of Mr Cundall's Burma partner company said: “It took 16 years for Mr Cundall to locate the planes buried in crates. We estimate that there are at least 60 Spitfires buried and they are in good condition.
“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.”
The British Embassy described the agreement as a chance to work with Burma’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.
Burma 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.
Mr Cundall’s quest to find the planes involved 12 trips to Burma and more than £130,000 pounds.