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Funding Pulled For Spitfire Dig

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The English farmer who claims there are more than 100 Spitfires buried in Burma vows to continue his search for the aircraft even though his financial backer has pulled out. David Cundall says the reason the six-week effort to find some of the Second World War aircraft has failed is that the government won't allow him to dig in the right place. He said it now seems the aircraft, which eyewitnesses have told him were packed in grease paper and enclosed in crates, may be near or even under a runway at Rangoon's international airport. The airport used to be RAF base Mingaladon. "The authorities will not give us permission to dig because of the risk of undermining the active runway," he said in an email to AVweb. He declined to be interviewed. Cundall says he has heard from eyewitnesses who said they saw large crates being buried at other locations and Cundall wants to dig there. "Getting permission will take months," he said.

Last week the Belarussian video gaming company Wargaming.net announced it was withdrawing financing for the project because it became convinced the buried Spitfires were a myth. "No one would have been more delighted than our team had we found Spitfires," said Wargaming.net spokesman Tracy Spaight. "We knew the risks going in, as our team had spent many weeks in the archives and had not found any evidence to support the claim of buried Spitfires." Magnetic anomalies turned out to be pieces of war-era metal runway and the gaming company's study of RAF records indicated the surviving Spitfires that were brought to Mingaladon were sent back to England after the war. Cundall says he's undeterred. "I want to come back when we have permission to dig at the other site," he said.

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