The Briton behind the search for Spitfire Mark XIV aircraft apparently buried after World War II says the search is not over, despite the withdrawal of the major sponsor on February 15.
Hunt leader David Cundall said during a press conference at Parkroyal Hotel on February 19 that the search will continue and he plans to hire two Spanish ground radar technicians to probe for aircraft that he believes are buried at Yangon International Airport.
“We need more technical support to be sure, I hope we can tell you the good news for next a few days whether there will spitfires in buried or not,” Cundall said.
The hunt’s main sponsor, Belarus-based online game portal Wargaming announced on February 15 that it was withdrawing its support, stating that there were no buried planes.
But Cundall said he remains confident.
“We haven’t finished our survey yet and need more time. We might need another two weeks to complete further surveys at Mingalardon,” Cundall said.
Cundall’s team is investigating the possibility that up to 140 Spitfires, believed to be Mark XIV models, could be buried in three locations - 35 at Mingalardon in Yangon, 18 in Myitkina (Kachin State) and six at Meiktila in Mandalay Region.
A spokesperson for Britain’s Ministry of Defense in Britain said there is no evidence to support the claim that Spitfires were buried in Myanmar in 1946.
But Cundall said eyewitness reports prove the planes must be in Myanmar.
“I believe eyewitness reports and I’ve seen the wooden crate in the ground at Myitkyina, Stanley Combe a World War II veteran and eyewitness has been telling me the same story for 15 years about the buried planes.
“And I found my own evidence in the National Archive that 124 Spitfires were buried in Myanmar,” he said.
He added that he has also another eye witness who had seen the wooden crates which could believe spitfire were inside and push into the North Atlantic.
“I do have many stories about many Spitfires being buried in Myanmar, and the UK government has given me their support,” he said.
Wargaming said it would put up to US$1 million for the hunt but has pulled out, and withdrawn its funding. The hunt is continuing with backing from Shwe Taung Por, Myanmar’s Department of Civil Aviation and the DJC (David J Cundall) fund, said U Tun Kyaw, managing director Shwe Taung Por.
“We have further funding to keep continuing for this project, we can’t say more details at this time but we will keep surveying areas at Mingalardon airport,” he said.
The aircraft were said to have been buried, in their original packing crates reinforced with local teak, on the orders of Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was Supreme Allied Commander in Southeast Asia and later Viceroy of India.