An aircraft owned by the US Marines has been found in the South Pacific after going missing for approximately 80 years. This ancient relic was used in World War Two but was shot down during its final mission.

Locals found the wreckage, sent information to news outlets, and then the word spread to the US military. What kind of plane was it, and were there any remains in the cockpit? Read on to find out.

Investigating A Myth

These discoveries are often made by accident, but today’s story is different. The locals already heard tales of a plane crash in the jungle of Papua New Guinea. The story was echoed throughout generations, but no one took the time to confirm it.

Source: getarchive

But the myth has now become a reality in 2024 since some locals decided to go on an adventure. They traveled through the jungle using only the details from their generational tales, and eventually, they found the crashed plane.

Finding The Crash Site Wasn’t Easy 

The brave investigation was led by local Kilala Kindau, who took his team into the jungle to confirm their childhood stories. He said: “The story was told by some of our grandparents and passed on to us. They spoke of a plane crash on the mountain part of the jungle, but they did not know where exactly it crashed.”

Source: jayemsey

But how long did the journey take? A few hours or two weeks? According to Kindau, the search through the jungle took place from December to January.

They Sent Pictures To The US Embassy

After weeks of searching, they finally found the fabled plane, which was wrecked and broken into three pieces. The team was happy and celebrated their discovery. But they didn’t really know which country owned the plane.

Source: Reuters 163

Their best bet was to take pictures of the plane, send them to the US embassy, and wait for confirmation. Shortly, they received news that they were in the presence of a high-profile US WWII plane.

What Kind Of Plane Was It?

World War II had several planes contributing to the fight. Many were for dog fights, others for scouting, and some for bombing enemy lines. Uncovering the type of plane can tell the story of the crash and the bravery of the pilots. So, what type of plane was it?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Photos of the plane’s serial number helped experts determine that it was a Douglas SBD Dauntless. This plane was a World War II American naval scout and dive bomber that Flew into enemy territories. Sadly, their mission was unsuccessful.

The Pilot Died Stuck

They celebrated their find, but details of the crash revealed an unfortunate fact. It seemed that the pilot was trapped inside the wreckage as the plane split into three pieces. Therefore, he was unable to escape and died a painful death.

Source: X/RealAlyLegge

Experts online researched the story and found that the situation surrounding the crash is consistent with the tragic final mission of Ramsey’s Dauntless.

The Tragic Story Behind The Tragic Crash

The mission began On January 14, 1944, as the bomber took flight from Munda Airfield in New Georgia. The plane housed two men on board – Ramsey as the pilot and Sciara handling the gunner.

Source: herald and review / The Western Telegraph

Their goal was Imperial Japanese ships sailing around the viral Rabaul Harbor, known as the Empire’s fortress. However, Ramsey and Sciara weren’t the only ones on the mission, as the operation included 36 other Dauntless planes.

The Enemy Fought Back Hard

After checking the squadron’s war diary for details of the operation, an unfortunate tale unfolded. The planes experienced heavy fire, and not just from any ammunition, but anti-aircraft rounds from multiple enemies.

Source: mediadrumworld

The diary revealed that Ramsey’s plane got hit badly in the risk by this anti-aircraft ammunition as they approached the target area. The last thing seen of him and Sciara was their plane in a flat spin.

After The Crash

After realizing Ramsey and Sciara crashed under enemy fire, the squadron assumed both died on impact. From what we know, Ramsey got trapped in his cockpit and possibly died within 24 hours.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

As for Sciara, information reached the military that he was alive. They then passed this news to his family for closure. His brother recently recalled: “After the war, my parents received a letter from the Marine Corps stating Sgt Charles Sciara did not die on January 14, 1944.”

What Happened To Sciara?

Many consider surviving a plane crash lucky, but it’s a different story when you’re in enemy territory. This was the reality of Sciara as he was immediately captured by the Japanese, where he eventually died.

Source: X/FindingSubjects

Sciara’s brother added: “He somehow survived the crash and was taken prisoner by the Japanese and died in an unknown prison camp.”

Sciara Wasn’t Murdered

Many would quickly assume that Sciara died in the Japanese prison at the hands of a vengeful enemy. However, this speculation is untrue, as his brother revealed that he died on February 22 from Malaria and beriberi.

Source: X/raulroa

But nothing stops his brother from speculating that “He probably was murdered by the Japanese.” Regardless, the family was upset with the news and didn’t know what to believe. Fortunately, they’ve put it behind them and moved on.

But 80 Years Is A Long Time Ago

The current peace the world enjoys makes it hard to imagine a globally devastating war happening 80 years ago. The time was so far away that Sciara’s brother was merely ten months old at the time of the crash.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Even Sciara himself was 20 years old at the time of his death. Even if he managed to survive to this day, he’d be too feeble to recognize his old bomber and the story behind it.

Both Eternally Memorialized

The US military acknowledged this brave team’s courage to charge into enemy lines and withstand heavy fire. Unfortunately, the operation was unsuccessful, resulting in them losing their lives.

Source: X/SteveMetzger12

Nevertheless, Ramsey and Sciara are memorialized on the tablets of the missing Manila American Cemetery. Sciara got additional acknowledgment as he also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery, in section H.

The Wreck Will Be Taken Home

Once news of the WWII plane crash went viral, multiple people filed reports to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. This branch is in charge of recovering American soldiers who are missing in action (MIA).

Source: Linkedin

The DPAA gave a statement: ‘DPAA has received multiple reports that wreckage potentially associated with missing personnel was recently discovered in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. We are working to get a team of investigators to the site as soon as we can.”