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Lifting equipment raises a World War II Dornier bomber from the English Channel off Deal, southern England, Monday.

Gareth Fuller, Associated Press

German WWII bomber raised from English Channel

  • June 10, 2013 - 5:47 PM

LONDON -- A British museum on Monday successfully recovered a German bomber that had been shot down over the English Channel during World War II.

The aircraft, nicknamed the Luftwaffe's "flying pencil" because of its narrow fuselage, came down off the coast of Kent county in southeastern England more than 70 years ago during the Battle of Britain.

The rusty and damaged plane was lifted from depths of the channel with cables and is believed to be the most intact example of the German Dornier Do 17 bomber that has ever been found.

"It has been lifted and is now safely on the barge and in one piece," said RAF Museum spokesman Ajay Srivastava. The bomber will be towed into port Tuesday, he added.

A few fragments of the plane dropped off as it was being lifted, but officials said divers will retrieve them later.

The museum had been trying to raise the relic for a few weeks, but the operation was delayed by strong winds and choppy waters.

In 2008, divers discovered the aircraft submerged in 50 feet (15 meters) of water.

Experts say the bomber is remarkably undamaged despite the passage of time.

Museum officials plan to conserve the relic and put it on exhibition next to the wreck of a British Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft that also was shot down during the battle.

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