“When U San Lin announced in the press release that the bell was found, he may have found the bell on land, but we did not find it under the water. We found only mud and a wrecked ship,” said U Than Nyunt.
U Than Nyunt continued that the team was actually extracting the wrecked ship when U San Lin announced that the team was unearthing the bell. In fact, the team did not even find the bell, nor did the team have a sense as to where the bell was.
“The bell was not found; the divers said it was a wrecked ship. It could be that U San Lin might have believed what the old man said,” said Nai Min Aung, Vice-Chairman of the Dhammazedi Bell Salvage Team Supporting Sub-Committee.
Nai Min Aung stated that U San Lin made the August 26th announcement that the bell had been found because he was worried that the bell salvaging operation would be stopped otherwise.
Under U San Lin’s direction, the diving team used a sand-digging vessel to search for the bell at the convergence of the Rangoon River, Pegu River, and the Pazundaung Creek.
U Than Nyunt states that ten divers searched the river in the mornings, when the water is high, and again in the evenings; divers could not search on days when the current was too strong.
“At the beginning, it was often mentioned that the bell [was]found, but later, [those announcements] tapered off. But, whatever it is, it has already been spread throughout the world that our Mon heritage really exists,” said Mon historical researcher Nai Maung Toe.
IMNA has attempted to reach U San Lin several times, but was unable to reach him because his phone has been switched off.
The search for the Great Dhammazedi Bell began on August 9th, after the Rangoon Division government granted the bell salvage team permission to initiate the search. An estimated 200,000 kyat has been spent in efforts to salvage the bell, and was announced as having been found on August 26th.