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Daniel Kristiansen and his father, Klaus, were searching for historical artifacts on their farm near Birkelse, Denmark, when they stumbled upon a German WWII plane complete with the pilot’s remains still in the cockpit.
The pair set out with a metal detector as part of a project for the 14-year-old boy’s history class when they came across the debris.
“I hoped we might find some old plates or something for Daniel to show in school,” Klaus Kristiansen said. But what they found there in a field in northern Denmark was something much more interesting: a Messerschmitt fighter plane, according to CNN.
With the help of a neighbor’s excavator, the father and son dug into the ground to see what more they could find and “suddenly came across bones and pieces of clothes,” Kristiansen said, whose grandfather told him once that a plane crashed on the property during the war, likely in the winter of 1944.
The pilot’s remains and possessions — three unused condoms and the pilot’s wallet, which contained Danish coins and food stamps for an Aalborg base canteen — have been moved to the Historical Museum of Northern Jutland, where historians hope to be able to identify the pilot.
“We found the pilot’s papers, and I think we have a name,” said Torben Sarauw, museum curator and head of archaeology. “It’s quite a special find.”
To be safe, “An explosive ordinance team is now working at the site to secure any ammunition or other dangerous materials,” reports CNN. No word yet if the expert sleuthing scored the boy an A+ on his school project.
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