Members of the extended family of Flt. Sgt. Denis Copping, who are based in Kinsale, County Cork, have renewed hope of finding the pilot, who went missing in June 1942 after his plane crashed in Egypt.
The P-40 Kittyhawk fighter he helmed was found in the Egyptian desert earlier this month, and the plane was in such good condition that experts were able to deduce that the then 24-year-old was able to walk away from the crash.
The news has brought renewed hope to his family that his remains may soon be found.
"We were absolutely astonished when we heard the details of the discovery,” Topping’s nephew, William Pryor-Bennett, told the Herald. "The condition of the plane is absolutely remarkable."
According to the Herald, Pryor-Bennett’s son John is hoping to travel to Egypt to see if he can put a search party together.
With temperatures thought to hover near 120 degrees at the time of the crash and some 200 miles between Topping and where the Allied front line was located, 20 miles is as much as it is believed the young man would have been able to cover without hydration and sustenance.
"We believe that the body must lie within a certain radius of the plane. He was a very smart young man and we believe that he would probably have rested up during the heat of the day and tried to use the stars to navigate as he walked by night,” added William Pryor-Bennett.
Jakub Perka, an oil company worker from Poland, discovered the plane, according to the Telegraph.