English planes that were previously believed to be lost after World War II may be returned after and agreement was made between Burma and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Cameron met with Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese democracy campaigner that had been held under house arrest for 22 years by the military regime, to discuss trade between Europe and Burma. Cameron is the first Western leader to enter negotiations with Kyi, the result of which could lead to England retrieving long lost planes that were last seen during WWII.
The 20 Spitfire planes were buried in Burma over 67 years ago in fear of a Japanese occupation, because locals believed the planes could be used or destroyed.
Following Kyi's election into Parliament, Cameron has called on Europe to suspend trade bans with Burma citing the countries "prospects for change."
David Cundall, a farmer from Scunthorpe, North Lincs, is responsible for locating the lost planes. His search has cost him 15 years and over $200,000, according to the Telegraph, a U.K. based news site.
"I'm only a small farmer, I'm not a multi-millionaire and it has been a struggle. It took me more than 15 years but I finally found them," Cundall told the Telegraph. "Spitfires are beautiful aeroplanes and should not be rotting away in a foreign land. They saved our neck in the Battle of Britain and they should be preserved."
The planes had been abandoned in Burma shortly before the end of the war and have never been used or assembled.
"They were just buried there in transport crates," Cundall said. "They were waxed, wrapped in greased paper and their joints tarred. They will be in near perfect condition."
Cundall stated that he negotiated terms with Cameron to ensure the planes recovery.
"I have been in touch with British officials in Burma and in London and was told that David Cameron would negotiate on my behalf to make the recovery happen," Cundall said.
Although Cundall's search has been a long one, the plane enthusiast still holds hope that the planes will one day fly. He also expressed an interest in being financially compensated.
"I'm hoping the discovery will generate some jobs. They will need to be stripped down and re-riveted but it must be done. My dream is to have a flying squadron at air shows," Cundall said. "It's been a financial nightmare but hopefully I'll get my money back."