Shadow of the Past
A well preserved wreck of Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk fighter plane of British RAF was discovered 70 years after the fall in the Sahara. The pilot survived the crash, but not the desert. He found himself hundreds of kilometers away from civilization, lost in the heat of Sahara.
Sergeant Denis Coping took what he could find in RAF’s plane and went somewhere… Into the void of the desert. Since that day in 1942, there are no records about this son of dentist from Southend. Seventy years later, ghostly but perfectly preserved remains of this fighter were found in the west part of this desert in Egypt. An amazing sight – as if the aircraft found itself in some kind of time machine.
It all lied intact, even some kind of a shelter Denis made waiting for help, hopelessly. This discovery happened completely by chance – an oil tycoon was researching faraway regions of the desert. The closest populated place is about 320km far from this place.
It is believed that sergeant Coping, stationed in a hunting unit in Egypt, as part of the Allied forces in North Africa, in the campaign against Rommel, got lost flying damaged in the second base. At some point he turned off the course and was never seen again. His plane, likewise.
The historian Andy Saunders, fascinated by the fact that it lies untouched for seven decades, called this an aviation equivalent to Tutankhamen’s tomb. There are visible damages on plane’s fuselage made by antiaircraft defense. He must’ve survived the fall because there was a pilot chute next to the airplane, that was used as some kind of Sun protection. Radio and batteries were also out of plane as if he was trying to use them, said Saunders. If he died beside the aircraft, the remains would be found. The notice on this discovery came to the RAF Museum in North London, and now their plan are to ‘repair’ the plane before anyone dismembers it for souvenirs. Attempts of finding Coping’s family didn’t give any results. It is believed that they are no longer among the living.