TECH

Boy's homework assignment leads to big WWII-era find

In this 2008 file photo, a German Messerschmitt Bf 109 sits beneath an American C-47 transport aircraft on display at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

In this 2008 file photo, a German Messerschmitt Bf 109 sits beneath an American C-47 transport aircraft on display at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.  (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Young boys tend not to forget fantastical stories told by their grandpas, especially if those stories involve downed World War II fighter planes. Klaus Kristiansen of Denmark apparently couldn't get the tale his own grandfather had told him out of his head—that an aircraft had crashed behind their Birkelse farm in 1944—and so when his son had a history homework assignment, he jokingly told the boy to "go out and find the plane that is supposed to have crashed," reports DR P4 Nordjylland, via the Local.

But what 14-year-old Daniel Rom Kristiansen turned up in a nearby field was no joke: the remnants of a German Messerschmitt plane, as well as the remains of its pilot, the BBC reports.

Dad and son had headed out with a metal detector, and when the device started beeping, they borrowed an excavator and began digging deep into the earth.

Starting at around 13 feet down, they started turning up pieces of the wreckage of the Bf 109 model. Kristiansen says they found "maybe 2,000 [to] 5,000 pieces" of the plane, books, a wallet with some cash, papers—and then bone fragments and pieces of human clothing.

He says he's lived on the property for decades and had never seen "a single bit of metal." The two called authorities, and the site has been roped off.

Forensics experts are hoping to identify the body. "Luckily my son has something to write about in his assignment now," Kristiansen tells DR. (A WWII pilot was found 13 feet underground, in his plane, in Italy.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Boy With Metal Detector Hits WWII-Era Jackpot