Last Surviving German WWII Dornier Do 17 Bomber to be Salvaged

Divers will raise plane out of the English Channel.

Dornier Do 17
Dornier Do 17
** Dornier Do 17**

After decades submerged in the English Channel, the only known surviving WWII German Dornier Do 17 bomber has hopes for being rescued, British officials announced this past weekend.

In the next few weeks, divers will attempt to bring the Dornier Do 17 to the surface just off the Kent coast in southeastern England.

The complex recovery process of lifting the rare airplane out of nearly 60 feet of water might prove to have several challenges, said Peter Dye, the RAF Museum director. Divers will only be able to work in increments of 45 minutes, and several other factors come into play once an airplane breaks the surface. Salvaging is already underway — a platform is positioned over the wreck and divers have started to build a metal frame around the sunken plane to begin the operation.

The famous WWII bomber, nicknamed "the flying pencil," was shot down during the Battle of Britain in 1940. Despite the struggle of battle and passage of time underwater, experts say the airplane is surprisingly undamaged.

Once the Dornier Do 17 is brought to the surface, work will begin to prepare the airplane for display at the RAF Museum in London. Should the operation be a success, the WWII bomber will be exhibited alongside a Hawker Hurricane fighter that was also shot down during the Battle of Britain, according to Dye.