Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/7/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Some think 'treasure' will only yield melted airplane parts

Some are calling it a wild goose chase with millions of dollars at stake. Backed with a million-dollar guarantee from a Belarusian videogame company, a colorful cadre of aviation buffs are bound and determined to uncover a stash of British fighter planes thought buried in Burma.

Britain built a total of some 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.

Britain built a total of some 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.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/7/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: British Spitfires, Burma, Myanmar, treasure hunt, aviation, World War II


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An airplane-obsessed farmer, 63-year-old David Cundall, freelance archaeologist Andy Brockman and a team of excavators are heading to the Burmese city of Yangon this weekend to find planes thought to be carefully buried beneath the former capital's airfield.

"We could easily double the number of Spitfires that are still known to exist," Cundall says. The private pilot has spent nearly two decades pursuing the theory that a batch of the famous fighter planes was buried, in pristine 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 says.

The Indiana Jones-type expedition carries no guarantees. Brockman acknowledges that it was "entirely possible" that all the team would find was a mass of corroded metal and rusty aircraft parts, if that.

Eyewitness testimony from British and American veterans as well as elderly local residents of Burma, along with survey data, aerial pictures, and ground radar soundings left him in no doubt that the planes were down there.

"There is a high percentage chance that something is buried there," Charles Heyman, who edits the reference book, "The Armed Forces of the United Kingdom"" says. It's not unusual for British forces to leave behind high-grade equipment in former war zones.

The Spitfire remains the U.K.'s most famous combat aircraft, its reputation cemented by the Battle of Britain. The fast-moving, sleek-looking single-seater aircraft helped beat back waves of German bombers.

Britain built a total of some 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.

As to why a group of Spitfires would have been boxed and buried, as opposed to scrapped and dumped, remains the biggest question hanging over the project.

Cundall said he first heard of the Burma theory from a fellow plane hunter at a party in Jacksonville, Florida, when two American veterans approached him with an unusual story. The men said they had worked as engineers in what was then known as Burma when they were tasked with carving out a large pit burial pit for the aircraft.

"It was the craziest thing you Brits asked us to do," Cundall quoted the men as saying.

Believing the story immediately, he placed ads seeking more information were placed in magazines with names like FlyPast and Warbirds. Other witnesses came forward.

Finding the site was just half the battle. Cundall said it took 17 years of lobbying to get permission to dig in Burma, now known as Myanmar, due to European sanctions against the country's authoritarian government, and, more recently, its tentative steps toward democracy.
Now, it's "Only a matter of time now before we start digging and find out: 'What's in the box?'" he said.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Four mythological symbols of China found along 1,700-year-old Silk Road Watch

Image of Ten well-preserved tombs have since been excavated.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The four mythological symbols of China - the White Tiger of the West, the Vermilion Bird of the South, and the Black Turtle of the North and the Azure Dragon of the East -- have been discovered by archaeologists in a 1,700-year-old cemetery along the old Silk ... continue reading


Agreement between Vatican and China remains far from certainty Watch

Image of There has been written contact between Pope Francis and President Xi Jinping over the past 18 months. There is reportedly a deal close on bishop appointments, which is the main stumbling block in establishing diplomatic ties.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While there appear warming overtures both between the Vatican and China, seemingly insurmountable differences remain. The general consensus is that communist-led China will have to make some compromises in its iron-clad rule in order for the Catholic Church to ... continue reading


Abortion as a contraceptive? The ugly truth of abortion in Vietnam Watch

Image of In Vietnam, estimates vary, but between 500,000 and 1 million abortions are carried out every year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A report from Vietnam's Hanoi Central Obstetrics Hospital has revealed that 40% of all pregnancies in Vietnam end in abortion, a figure that is twice as high as official government figures. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Behind China and Russia, Vietnam has ... continue reading


20 minors rescued in India child-trafficking bust Watch

Image of India has a large issue with child-trafficking, one that is often overlooked or even used by local officials.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A massive police crackdown on organized child trafficking has led to the arrest of 10 child traffickers and the rescue of 20 minors in India. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The raids were conducted jointly by police teams from the Indian states of Chhattisgarh ... continue reading


A prelude to war! Chinese island building project aimed to create military bases in South China Sea Watch

Image of China's ongoing project of building islands for military use in the South China Sea is seen by many as confrontational and preparation for war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New satellite images are showing that China has begun constructing an island on a reef near the disputed Spratly Islands, which could be large enough to accommodate  an airstrip, its first in the South China Sea. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - That China ... continue reading


Faithful gather to celebrate 500 years of the Catholic Church in Myanmar Watch

Image of Christianity remains a small minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the Catholic Church there begins to celebrate its 500 years there, Christianity remains a small minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. According to a census conducted this year, Catholics number about 750,000 out of a population estimated at just over ... continue reading


China's icy heart? Has the Catholic Church warmed up the Asian superpower? Watch

Image of China has 12 million Catholics, but they are often split between support for the local state-run Church and the Vatican.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Relations between the Vatican and China have been frosty since the communist takeover in the 1950s, and the Holy See has found it very difficult to warm relations with the Asian superpower. But with an unprecedented proposal from China, all that could very well ... continue reading


Lessons not learned: 132 Indian women sterilized in five hours following tragedy Watch

Image of Senior officials in Ghuvara acknowledged that the family planning camp was organized by government authorities, but refused to speak on record.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The nation of India recently saw the deaths of 13 women, with as many as 50 women seriously injured after a hasty mass sterilization camp in Ghuvara in Chhatarpur district. Lessons were not learned, it appears, as another 132 women were reportedly operated upon ... continue reading


Two billion people drink water contaminated by feces Watch

Image of According to WHO, inadequate water supply and sanitation results in annual economic losses of $260 billion.

By Magdalena Mis, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Nearly two billion people use water contaminated by feces, posing a global health risk despite billions of dollars spent on sanitation, said a report published on Wednesday. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - One in seven people, mostly poor and living in ... continue reading


Five million people expected in Goa, India to venerate St. Francis Xavier Watch

Image of The saint, who died in 1552, has his remains preserved in a glass-paneled silver casket and kept inside the 16th-century Basilica of Bom Jesu (Good Jesus).

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Five million people are expected to flood Goa, India in order to venerate the remains of 16th century Spanish missionary Francis Xavier. The remains will be on display for 40 days beginning this weekend.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In order to ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter