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American WWII Lockheed P38 Lightning off the beach in Wales - Incredible find, Incredible picture

It has been hidden under the the sands and waves since it crashed off the coast of Wales in 1942. But now this wreckage of a rare World War fighter plane may soon be back on dry land.

Described as 'one of the most important WWII finds in recent history', the location of the Lockheed P38 Lightning has been kept a secret to keep the amazing find safe.

Known as the 'Maid of Harlech', the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) fighter crashed on the Gwynedd coast when it was taking part in training exercises - its engines cut out.

Amazingly pilot Lt Robert Elliott walked away from the incident without a scratch but tragically went missing in action just three months later serving in the American's Tunisia campaign in North Africa.

These incredible pictures show how the previously undetected Lightning suddenly appeared on a Wales beach in 2007. Shifting water displaced sand which had hidden it for 60 years and revealed a gem find for aviation buffs.

But now a charity has announced plans to next year retrieve the wreckage. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery are looking for support and a British museum who will accept the fascinating American machine as a gift to display at their venue for history lovers.

TIGHAR are the only non-profit organisation of their kind in the world and work tirelessly retrieving plane wrecks of historical importance and donate them to museums for the public to enjoy.

Reddit user phenry1110 calls it a fairly rare find: "Those are fairly rare in flying condition and can command a premium price. Glacier gal, the P-38 they found buried in a glacier in Newfoundland? was a multi-year project to get flying and I believe sold for over $12 million"

You can find more information about this P-38, along with more incredibly stunning photographs here:

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