Hunt starts for massive bell in Myanmar river

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By AP

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Updated: Thu, 14 Aug 2014 01:15:09 EST

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A team of divers is trying to retrieve a bronze bell that has been lying for centuries at the confluence of three rivers south of Myanmar's old capital, Yangon.

The 270 ton bell, believed to be one of the largest ever cast, was made on the order of King Dhammazedi in 1476 and donated to the revered Shwedagon pagoda. In the early 1600s, it was stolen by Portuguese despot Philip de Brito. The vessel carrying the historic treasure sank where the Yangon and Bago rivers meet the Pazundaung creek.

Private and foreign groups have tried unsuccessfully to retrieve the bell in the past. Buried deep beneath the mud, they have been deterred in part by murky waters and torrential currents.

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