Weather is hampering the delicate operation to raise the only German Dornier Do-17 bomber left after World War II from the depths of the Channel, it was reported on Friday.
· Plans to build a metal frame around the wreck, which was to be used to carefully hoist it the 15 metres (50 feet) from the seabed, have been dashed by rough conditions, according to the BBC.
· Salvagers will now revert to a more risky strategy of attaching cables to the three strongest points on the aircraft, but experts fear it may not hold up to the strain.
· “We’re having to rely to a larger degree than we originally planned on the structural integrity of the aircraft,” Ian Thirsk, the RAF Museum’s head of collections, told the BBC.
· “But we have no choice. We’re doing what we can to save a unique and precious heritage asset. If we leave it one thing is certain – it won’t be there in a year’s time,” he added.
· The aircraft was shot down during the Battle of Britain in 1940 and the operation to retrieve it is the biggest of its kind in British waters.
· The bomber was only discovered in 2008 when it was spotted by divers at Goodwin Sands, off the coast of Kent.
· Sonar scans confirmed it was a Dornier Do-17, and experts say it is in a “remarkable condition”.
· The Dornier 17 was nicknamed the Luftwaffe’s “flying pencil” because of its narrow fuselage.
· The Battle of Britain began on July 10, 1940, and ended on October 31 the same year.