The year is 1972, and some Australian military members are flying in a Royal Australian Air Force helicopter. As they fly over this isolated part of Papua New Guinea with nothing but wetland and jungles, they spot something surprising.There, in the middle of the jungle, is a ginormous, partially submerged aircraft. This is the same aircraft that has been missing for three decades now! Has the military finally unravelled the mystery that captivated the people all these years? It sure does seem so.
When you find out exactly where the missing aircraft was located, it will make sense why nobody could find it all those years. It was found in a country that is considered one of the world’s least explored, both culturally and geographically.
Papua New Guinea is home to some of the world’s most exotic flora and fauna. In fact, researchers believe there are still more undiscovered species in the country. Its cohabitating ecosystems include rainforests, swamps, mountains, and volcanoes.
The Australian soldiers were flying over a crocodile-infested swamp in the Oro Province called Agaiambo. It was in this swamp that they spotted the missing aircraft. That would probably explain why it took so long to find this aircraft.
Simply put, the Agaimbo was in an extremely well-preserved area, meaning not even tourists or locally accessed the area much. It used to be home to a group of marsh-dwellers called the Agaiambo/Agaumbu but were now considered extinct. Other than these people, nobody else lived in the area.
The soldiers knew it was an aircraft, but what kind of aircraft was it? As it turns out, this was the Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress that went missing in 1942. Since its discovery, it has now been nicknamed the Swamp Ghost.
Through the years, this aircraft came to be known as a legend in military aviation history. According to aviation archaeologist Fred Hagen, “It was widely considered that it was impossible to salvage this aeroplane.”One important figure in this story is David Tallichet Jr. Tallichet is a Dallas-born World War II veteran and entrepreneur. Tallichet owns numerous aviation-themed restaurants. Aside from that, he also has other things to keep him busy.
One of those things is collecting and restoring military aircraft. At some point in his career, he even had more than 120 planes! Some of those planes included a B-25 Mitchell Bomber and a P-40 Tomahawk.Coincidentally, when Tallichet served in the military, he had co-piloted the same type of aircraft as the one the soldiers uncovered in Papua New Guinea. These were four-engine bombers, and Tallichet knew what to do.