11 Jun 2013

World War II German bomber salvaged

9:40 am on 11 June 2013

A World War II German bomber was raised from the bottom of the English Channel on Monday evening.

The Dornier 17 aircraft was shot down off the Kent coast in 1940 during the Battle of Britain and lay in 15m of water on the Goodwin Sands.

Attempts by the RAF Museum to salvage the relic were hit by strong winds over the last few weeks, but the BBC reports weather conditions were "near perfect" on Monday evening.

The salvage almost had to be postponed again when the rope from one of the salvage barge's four anchors got wrapped around its propeller, but the crew were able to free it in time to take advantage of the tide.

The aircraft will now be restored at a site in Shropshire before eventually going on display at the RAF Museum in Hendon, north London.

Originally designed as a fast reconnaissance aircraft, the Dornier was converted by the Luftwaffe in the mid-1930s into a medium bomber.

The BBC reports the salvaged plane is believed to be aircraft call-sign 5K-AR, shot down on 26 August, 1940, at the height of the battle.

An earlier plan to build an aluminium frame or cradle around the fragile wreck was abandoned after it became clear it would take too long and send the £600,000 project way over budget.

A two-year restoration programme will now begin at the RAF Museum. Experts plan to spray the wings and fuselage with water and a combination of citric acid and sodium hydroxide in an attempt to halt corrosion.