Photo: Jakub Perka
In June 1942, the Royal Air Force pilot of a World War II fighter plane crash landed in the sands of the Sahara desert, 200 miles from the nearest town. The airman was never seen again. The downed Kittyhawk P-40 remained untouched for seven decades, until this March when a Polish oil worker named Jakub Perka stumbled across the near perfectly preserved war relic on an expedition in the Egyptian desert, Richard Alleyne of The Telegraph reports.
“It is a quite incredible time capsule, the aviation equivalent of Tutankhamen’s Tomb,” Military historian Andy Saunders told Alleyne.
The pilot, believed to be 24-year-old Sgt. Dennis Copping, is thought to have survived the crash. A parachute found at the site may have been used as shelter from the blistering sun before Copping ultimately succumbed to the harsh desert heat.
According to The Daily Mail, Copping was a member of a fighter unit based in Egypt that fought against Erwin Rommel in North Africa. He was flying the plane to a British airbase for repairs when it crash-landed.
The single-seater plane is also remarkably intact. It still had guns and ammunition inside before being removed by the Egyptian military for safety reasons, The Mail writes.
The RAF Museum in London has plans to recover the aircraft and put it on display. Since the incredible story captured the attention of international media, however, locals have been pillaging the site for materials and souvenirs.
You can see more pictures of the fighter plane here, or take a look at the videos below.
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