A Polish oil worker exploring the Sahara Desert stumbled upon a WWII fighter plane that has helped shed some light on a 70-year-old mystery that could put this World Time masterpiece in the RAF Museum.
Jakub Perka found the considerably well preserved plane in the Sahara about 200 miles away from the nearest town in Egypt, according to The Telegraph newspaper.
The fighter plane was an American made Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk which was being flown by a 24 year-old British airmen named Dennis Copping, when it apparently ran into trouble and went down in 1942, The Telegraph reports. Some speculate either he got lost and ran out of fuel or there was a mechanical era.
One military historian, Andy Saunders believes that Copping likely survived the crash by setting the plane down on the sandy floor of the desert.
There is evidence of a parachute set up on one side of the plane to indicate he may have tried to make a shelter.
“The radio and batteries were out of the plane and it looks like he tried to get it working. If he died at the side of the plane his remains would have been found,” Saunders says. “Once he had crashed there, nobody was going to come and get him. It is more likely he tried to walk out of the desert, but ended up walking to his death. It is too hideous to contemplate.”
Saunders equated the discovery as “the aviation equivalent of Tutankhamun’s Tomb.”
Michael Creane, of the Royal Air Force Museum in London, U.K., told NBC News that it was “incredible” the plane had not been submerged by the shifting sands of the desert.
He said they were “hell bent” on bringing the aircraft to the museum, although he said there were “lots of hoops to jump through.”