'Flying Coffin' wreck from World War II found in Italy

'Flying Coffin' wreck from World War II found in Italy
(Image credit: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty)

A World War II aircraft unofficially known as a "Flying Coffin" has been found in Italy.

The heavy bomber Consolidated B-24 Liberator earned its nickname when crew members found it difficult to fly, thanks to its "stiff and heavy controls," Discovery News reports. Since Liberators had just one exit per plane, it was "almost impossible to reach the rear from the flight deck when wearing a parachute," hence the "Flying Coffin" designation.

The wreck was found in Selva del Lamone's forests outside of Farnese, Viterbo, in central Italy. Historian Mario Di Sorte told Discovery News that the plane was a B-24 "H" model, and the scientists were able to "fully reconstruct its last flight," from San Giovanni to the Canino airport. The plane was a member of an 18-bomber formation that dropped roughly 25 tons of bombs on the airport.

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After the "Flying Coffin" was attacked by German fighters, only two members of its 10-man crew were able to parachute out of the plane. The plane exploded before it crashed, leaving bodies "scattered around the wreckage" in the forest. It will be displayed in the Selva del Lamone natural reserve later this year.

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