The first of an estimated 140 Spitfires buried in Burma is believed to have been found.
A watery crate in Kachin state, in the north of the country, is thought to hold the parts of the plane, but the excavation team says it is too soon to tell for certain; a camera lowered into the crate has revealed just water - for now.
The planes are said to be buried, ready for assembly, in crates in several locations around Burma, also known as Myanmar, including near Rangoon's airport.
They were shipped out for use by the RAF towards the end of the second world war but were never used, following Japan's surrender in 1945, with the US military thought to have been responsible for disposing of the planes.
The discovery is the hard work of British enthusiast David Cundall, who has spent more than a decade in the country tracking them down.
It could take weeks to pump out the water, but Cundall believes it will be worth it, explaining yesterday (January 9) that he expected all the aircraft to be in "very good condition".
An agreement between Cundall and the Burmese government signed in October has seen a proposed two years' of excavation work begin on an initial 60 planes, with several potentially appearing on the auction market in due course.
Of the 20,000 Spitfires produced, just an estimated 40 remain operational around the world.
An airworthy Spitfire sold for £1.7m ($2.5m) at a Bonhams auction in 2009. A major influx of fresh-to-the-market Spitfires, while attracting huge interest, could see values for the planes fall significantly due to dilution of the market.
Of the first batch of 60 it is thought that 36 could return to the UK.
We will bring you further developments here at Paul Fraser Collectibles.
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