A Danish boy and his father discovered a World War II aircraft with the pilot still in the cockpit while they were doing research for a school project. The find of a lifetime was in a location they passed through every day: the backyard of their farm.
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The boy, Daniel Kristiansen, and his father, Klaus, are still trying to come to terms with the extraordinary find, a find that can be largely attributed to Daniel’s school project.
Using a metal detector, the two trekked out into the backyard of their farm in the hopes they “might find some old plates or something for Daniel to show in school,” said Klaus.
Instead of finding some old plate that could be used as a show and tell prop, the duo began finding debris of metal fragments that looked to belong to a plane.
They started digging with excavation tools that they borrowed from a neighbor, and after digging seven to eight meters down, they came across what they believe was a Messerschmitt fighter plane from WWII.
“At first we were digging up a lot of dirt with metal fragments in it. Then we suddenly came across bones and pieces of clothes,” Kristiansen said. “It was like opening a book from yesterday.”
The idea of a WWII plane sitting in the back of their farm was actually plausible to Klaus, whose grandfather told him a German plane crashed into the back of their farm. “We think it was around November or December 1944,” the father said.
Klaus’s grandfather told him that the Germans came by to get their plane shortly after it crashed on the family farm, but low and behold, it was there on the farm the whole time. Klaus said he didn’t think much of it at the time, “I mainly thought it was just a good story.”
The pilot’s possessions and remains were turned over to Torben Sarauw, curator at the Historical Museum of Northern Jutland. “We found the pilot’s papers, and I think we have a name,” said Sarauw.
Sarauw acknowledged that the find holds a fair bit of historic value in its own right. Klaus said he just hopes that the pilot’s family can be notified and he can get a “proper funeral.” As for Daniel, he’ll certainly have the story of a lifetime to share now!