In the middle of the swamp in Papau New Guinea, a B-17E Flying Fortress made a crash landing in 1942 after running out of fuel. Its crew survived, but the craft itself was presumed to be lost to history in the malaria-ridden, mosquito- and crocodile-infested area.
And it was indeed lost — for 30 years.
War History Online reports that the unbelievably intact, remarkably preserved Flying Fortress, named the “Swamp Ghost” for where it spent decades of its life, remained a mystery in the swamp until 1972, when it was found by Australian Air Force service members.
The Army Air Force plane was returning from a bombing raid on enemy ships at Japanese-occupied New Britain, War History Online reports, and had taken numerous hits from Japanese fighters but stayed in the air until it ran out of fuel.
Capt. Fred Eaton and his crew proceeded to hike their way out to friendly forces — for a grueling, agonizing six weeks.
They were quickly put in another plane to get back to war.
But their downed aircraft seemed to fade away.
Even though it was found back in 1972, it remained in the swamp. It was a massive object that no one was quick to move. War History Online reports that efforts to recover the plane were not made until the 1980s.
It then began its incredibly long journey back to the states, to its resting place, the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor, in 2013.
Here’s wishing the Swamp Ghost a long and happy retirement.
What do you think about this amazing find?