A wooden crate in Burma could contain one of the most iconic British combat aircrafts, and an excavation team could soon discover whether a Spitfire is really below the muddy water in the crate.

David Cundall, the aviation enthusiast and owner of DJC, who has led the expedition, told journalists at a press conference in Rangoon that it will "take some time to pump the water out" but said he expected the aircraft to be in good condition.

"We've gone into a box, but we have hit this water problem. It's murky water and we can't really see very far."

spitfire

Stanley Coombe, a 91-year-old former British soldier who is one of eight people who said they have seen the buried British Spitfires

Around 140 Spitfires are believed to have been buried in Burma by American engineers in the closing weeks of the Second World War.

"Basically nobody had got any orders to take these airplanes back to (the) UK. They were just surplus ... (and) one way of disposing them was to bury them. The war was over, everybody wanted to go home, nobody wanted anything, so you just buried it and went home. That was it," Cundall told reporters.

This particular specimen, if it is what experts believe it is, was found in Myitkyina. It is the first of many expeditions which will hunt for the buried aircrafts.

The venture, backed with a million-dollar guarantee from the Belarusian videogame company, could uncover dozens of Spitfire aircraft locked underground.

spitfire

The Civic Hall in Rangoon, Burma, with a crowd surrounding a British Spitfire

Burma's government will get one plane for display at a museum, as own half of the remaining total discovered.

Cundall's DJC will own 30% of the aircrafts, and their Burmese partners the other 20%.

They hope to discover as many as 60 planes.

According to the BBC, it has taken 17 years of research by Cundall - a farmer from the Isle of Axholme, North Lincolnshire - to find where the spitfires might have been buried.

War veteran Stanley Coombe, 91, who says he witnessed the burial of the aircraft, has accompanied the team

"I never thought I would be allowed to come back and see where Spitfires have been buried. It has been a long time since anybody believed what I said until David Cundall came along," he told AP.