1. ITV Report

Forgotten WWII fighter plane found in Sahara desert

The Kittyhawk P-40 fighter plane has been found in a remote region of the Sahara Desert in Egypt Photo: YouTube

A single-seater RAF fighter plane has been discovered in a remote region of the Sahara Desert in Egypt by a Polish oil company worker.

The Kittyhawk P-40 has remained unseen and untouched since it crashed landed in June 1942.

It is thought its pilot, believed to have been Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping, 24, survived the crash and initially used his parachute for shelter before making a futile attempt to walk across the desert.

The location is about 200 miles from the nearest town.

ITV News Correspondent Nina Nannar reports

The Metro newspaper reports that Flt Sgt Copping and another airman from RAF’s 260 Squadron had been told to fly two damaged Kittyhawk P-40's from one British airbase in northern Egypt to another for repairs.

During the short flight, Flt Sgt Copping lost his bearings, went off course, and was never seen again.

Aviation historian Andy Saunders told newpaper that he probably tried to walk out of the desert but ended up walking to his death.

He added:

"It is too hideous to contemplate. It is a quite incredible time capsule, the aviation equivalent of Tutankhamun’s Tomb."

Most of the Kittyhawk P-40's cockpit instruments are intact Credit: YouTube

The cockpit instruments of the plane are largely intact and it still had ammunition and guns until they were recently removed by the Egyptian military for safety reasons, the Telegraph reports.

The hope is the aircraft's discovery may at last reveal exactly what happened to its young pilot.

The RAF is working with the Egyptian authorities to bring the plane home, and complete the search for the pilot that at the time was impossible for his wartime colleagues.

Air Vice Marshall Peter Dye, from the RAF Museum talks to ITV News' Nina Nannar about the discovery of the lost plane Credit: ITV News

Air Vice Marshall Peter Dye, from the RAF Museum told ITV News:

"The war moved on and he was forgotten as was the aircraft but it's not too late in a way to close that story off."

– Air Vice Marshall Peter Dye, RAF Museum