Allan Knepper was lost on a strike mission on the day the Allies invaded Sicily. The general location of his crash site was noted in the Missing Air Crew Report (see Research Documents MACR) and map in the Photo Gallery below.
Nearly 70 years after his plane was downed, a posting was made on BlogSicilia in the faint hope that it would reach someone who had direct knowlendge of the incident.
In less than 24 hours, a response was received from a local Sicilian living in proximity to the estimated crash site. That man, Salvatore Fagone, had been in contact with an old farmer from the region who claimed to be an eyewitness to the crash.
Salvo Fagone has, over the past three years, become a local Sicilian expert on the use of metal detectors in searching for crash fields. His first search atop the proposed site was immediately successful, and many metallic components were located and photographed.
These photos were sent to the Defense POW/MIA Acccounting Agency (DPAA)- the federal agency responsible for the search and recovery of lost servicemen.
In February 2017, following other positive searches from Salvo and his team, DPAA undertook a 10 day search in Sicily, and reported in May that the site was quite like that of Knepper's crash. A full excavation is scheduled, though with 300 other sites on DPAA's "dig list", it will take some time.
Salvo and his team conducted several metal detector sweeps over multiple sites in the area of Palagonia, Sicily. The following Photo Gallery includes annotated images of his findings.