The Upshot

Fighter plane from World War II found

The Upshot


A fighter plane from World War II that crashed in the Sahara 70 years ago has been unearthed, and holds clues to a missing pilot.

The Telegraph reports that the intact American-made Curtiss Kittyhawk P-40, which had remained untouched since its crash landing in 1942, was discovered by a Polish oil company worker, Jakub Perka, who was exploring a remote region of the Western Desert in Egypt, about 200 miles from the nearest town.

It is believed that the airman, Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping, 24, initially survived the crash, because a parachute found at the scene looks to have been used as a makeshift shelter. But no trace of the body was found, leaving experts to believe the pilot walked away from the flight, then walked to his death in a hopeless attempt to find civilization.

A military historian, noting that there would be no reason on earth to have found the plane in the middle of the desert, hailed the find as " a quite incredible time capsule, the aviation equivalent of Tutankhamun's Tomb."

The Canadian website Vintage Wings of Canada said the plane was in "incredible condition," but worried about looters to the site, which happens to be on a dangerous smuggling route between Sudan and Libya.

Vintage Wings also notes that the serial number appears to be ET574, a plane previously flown by Canadian pilot Stocky Edwards. The website adds, "To say we, at Vintage Wings, are excited by this find in an understatement."

A search is planned to locate the missing pilot's body, but officials don't believe that any remains will be found. Eventually, the aircraft will be moved to London's Royal Air Force Museum.

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