A Danish teenager recently discovered the wreckage of a German World War II fighter plane with the pilot’s remains in the cockpit buried near his family’s farm in northern Denmark. Fourteen-year-old Daniel Rom Kristiansen made the stunning discovery while doing research for a school project. Now, the results of his research are being analyzed at a museum in Northern Jutland.
Daniel’s father, Klaus, told CNN that when he and his son went to the field with a metal detector they weren’t expecting to find much.
“I hoped we might find some old plates or something for Daniel to show in school,” Klaus said. His grandfather used to tell stories about a German plane crashing near the farm, but he wasn’t sure if they were true.
When they thought they had hit something big, they borrowed an excavator from a neighbor and started digging.
“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.”
Via the Daily Mail:
The father and son found an engine from the ME 109 Messerschmitt plane, Luftwaffe munitions, and the remains of the aircraft’s pilot.
“In the first moment it was not a plane,” Mr Kristiansen told the BBC. “It was maybe 2,000 – 5,000 pieces of a plane. And we found a motor… then suddenly we found parts of bones, and parts from [the pilot’s] clothes.”
“And then we found some personal things – books, a wallet with money… Either it was a little Bible or it was Mein Kampf – a book in his pocket. We didn’t touch it, we just put it in some bags. A museum is now taking care of it. I think there’s a lot of information in those papers.”
The Historical Museum of Northern Jutland now has the pilot’s possessions and the remains of the plane.
“We found the pilot’s papers, and I think we have a name,” Torben Sarauw, curator and head of archaeology at the museum, said.
Sarauw believes the pilot came from the training base for German pilots in Aalborg, a nearby city. Along with the pilot’s suit, hat and three unused condoms, they also have his wallet, which contained two Danish coins and some food stamps for the canteen at the Aalborg base.
“It’s quite a special find,” Sarauw said. He believes it’s the first time a German plane has been found buried in this way in Denmark.
An explosive ordnance team was dispatched to the site to secure any ammunition or other hazardous materials.
Kristiansen told CNN about how his grandfather used to talk about a German plane crashing near the farm during World War II.
“We think it was around November or December 1944,” Kristiansen said. He recalled his grandfather once telling him that when the plane crashed, he was making Christmas cookies with Kristiansen’s grandmother and his uncle, who was a young boy at the time.
The field is now used to graze cattle, Kristiansen said. His family has been working on the land for decades, oblivious of what was buried just beneath the surface. “We had never seen anything on the surface,” he said.
“Not a single bit of metal. He was telling a lot of stories, my grandfather. Some of them were not true, and some of them were true—but this one was true. Maybe I should have listened to him a bit more when he was alive!”