BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Saturday, 3 November 2007, 16:40 GMT
US fighter plane found on beach
Harlech beach (picture: Julian Triggs)
The site where the plane was found is being protected
The wreck of a rare American fighter plane which is thought to have crashed during World War II has appeared on a north Wales beach.

The Lockheed-P38 Lightning has surfaced after more than 60 years because of a change in the beach levels.

Experts from the US have visited the site and confirmed there are no other examples of the aircraft in Europe.

Gwynedd Council's maritime department is to protect the site of the plane while its restoration is arranged.

Barry Davies, maritime officer for the council, said he has known about the wreckage near Harlech for several weeks.

He said the plane was found by a member of the public who was walking on the beach.

High octane fuel

The plane is visible at certain stages of the tide and Mr Davies has visited the site himself and seen the wings.

He said: "It still has a lot of high octane fuel onboard, so it's important that the public doesn't go near it."

Mr Davies said it is probably the first time the aircraft has been seen since crashing.

"There's been a draw down of the beach level so it probably hasn't been exposed before," he added.

Experts from the US have been over to examine the wreckage but no decision has been made about how it will be recovered from the sand.

Glacier Girl
Another P-38 Lightning was discovered in Greenland and restored

He said: "At the moment it's going to be a difficult and expensive process to salvage it because of its location."

Gwynedd council is not revealing the precise location of the wreckage in the interest of public safety and to protect the aircraft.

The Lockheed P-38 was designed in 1937. According to the US Air Force, 9,923 P-38s were built by 1945, but only 27 of the aircraft survive.

  • Another Lockheed P-38, forced to land in Greenland in bad weather during World War II, became buried under ice there. It was finally flown to Britain in June.

    Problems ground ice-tomb fighter
    29 Jun 07 |  Highlands and Islands

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Has China's housing bubble burst?
    How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
    Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


    Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific