A Polish oil worker surveying a remote area in Western Egypt recently stumbled upon a surprising find: The remains of a Kittyhawk P-40 that crash-landed in the Sahara Desert seven decades ago.
Time and the elements have taken their toll on the aircraft, but aside from some corrosion, as well as damage likely sustained during the P-40’s rough landing, the fighter was found remarkably intact, according to a recent report by the Telegraph.
While speculation surrounding the aircraft’s authenticity and identification continues, experts believe the P-40 was flown by 24-year-old RAF airman Dennis Copping, who disappeared while transferring a damaged P-40 between British bases in the region in June 1942.
Tattered pieces of a parachute were found at the site, but the remains of the pilot were not, suggesting he may likely have ventured out into the desert sometime after the landing.
Officials from the British embassy in Cairo have plans to visit the site and verify the authenticy of the aircraft. A search of the surrounding area for the remains of the pilot is also in the works.
Unfortunately, however, since the find, the aircraft has been severely looted and vandalized for spare parts and scraps. Warbird enthusiasts and historians alike have pressed the British government to intervene swiftly to recover what remains of the historic relic.