Sure, it’s easy to lose an action figure or a watch or a pair of sunglasses in the sand at the beach. But how do you lose an airplane?
Once thought to be an unmanned drone, a plane discovered buried in shallow-water sand this summer in Wales has been identified as a missing P-38 “Lightning” fighter aircraft which crashed near the beach during World War II in 1942.
According to expert Ric Gillespie, it may be the oldest plane of its kind in existence. Made in 1941, it went to Great Britain in 1942. Twenty-four year old Robert Elliott was piloting the aircraft when it ran out of fuel. He ditched the plane in shallow water where shifting sands covered the wreckage. Erosion uncovered the once-forgotten plane this summer.
Gillespie, who serves as executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, visited the wreck this month and identified the plane by its serial number.