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Buried British planes in Myanmar may fly again

United Kingdom,Defence/Security, Sat, 14 Apr 2012 IANS

London, April 14 (IANS) Twenty "lost" Spitfire aircraft that were buried in Myanmar during World War II could return to the skies, The Independent reported Saturday.


British Prime Minister David Cameron and Myanmarese President Thein Sein have agreed to work together to find and restore the historic aircraft as part of a thaw in relations.


Amateur aviation enthusiasts uncovered evidence of the Spitfires' existence years ago, but have been unable to gain access to their potential locations.


British statesman Earl Mountbatten ordered the RAF to bury them in the summer of 1945 amid fears that they could be either used or destroyed by Japanese forces.


Within weeks, the atom bomb was dropped to end the conflict, and the brand new planes - which were in crates and yet to be assembled - were seemingly forgotten.


Experts from Leeds University have linked up with an academic based in Yangon and believe they have identified the sites where the craft are concealed using sophisticated radar techniques.


Although around 21,000 Spitfires were built during the war effort, only 35 are believed to be in flying condition today.


Cameron raised the fascinating find when he met Sein for talks Friday. Officials said the president was "very enthusiastic", and if the planes can be salvaged, some could potentially go on display in Myanmar, the newspaper added.


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