June 17, 2013 – A German World War II bomber plane that sat untouched 50 feet (15 metres) beneath the English Channel for 70 years has been salvaged.
The aircraft, a Dornier 17, was shot down on August 26, 1940 during the Battle of Britain near the Kent coast where it laid untouched underwater until last Monday. It is believed to be the only intact Dornier 17 in the world. Two of it's four-man crew died in the crash and the two other surviving men were captured and held as prisoners of war.
Rescuing the plane from its watery grave has been a plan in motion for several years. Divers first found the plane in 2008. The original plan to build an aluminum cradle around the very fragile remains came to a halt after those involved realized it would take way too long and cost $950,000 more than planned.
Last Monday's rescue finally succeeded in great weather after having to reschedule the initial June 2 salvage mission because of high winds. Divers attached lifting equipment to what they believed to be the strongest parts of the plane and then large crane raised it all at once so as to keep it as intact as possible.
Now that it has been salvaged it will be restored over two years at the Royal Air Force's Museum in Cosford, Shropshire. Restoration experts will spray the body with a solution of citric acid and sodium hydroxide, which will hopefully stop it from breaking down any further.