3 Jun 2013

World War II aircraft salvage attempt delayed again

1:03 pm on 3 June 2013

An attempt to raise a World War II German aircraft from the bottom of the English Channel was abandoned again on Sunday night because of high winds.

Divers had hoped to begin lifting the only surviving Dornier 17 at 9pm BST, but decided to delay the bid and the salvage barge returned to Ramsgate.

A spar, attached to lifting cables and struts in the wings, is to be inserted through the bomber's fuselage, which lies in 50ft of water at Goodwin Sands off Kent.

The £600,000 project, devised by the RAF Museum, has been repeatedly hit by bad weather.

Since the GPS Apollo dropped anchor over the wreck on 3 May, a total of 16 days of diving have been lost and the barge has had to take refuge in Ramsgate harbour four times.

The Dornier 17 was a mainstay of the German bomber fleets during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The BBC reports the plane on the Goodwin Sands is believed to have shot down on 26 August that year. The aircraft has been buried in the sand since then.

Two crew members survived to become prisoners of war. Two other bodies washed ashore and were buried elsewhere.