Visiting Iceland’s famous plane wreck

Iceland is of course finest recognised for becoming the ‘Land of Hearth and Ice’, many thanks to its many volcanoes and glaciers. There are even so some other interesting and to some degree uncommon attractions, and one particular of these is the airplane wreck on Sólheimasandur, a black beach on the south coast of Iceland.

It is about a 20-moment drive from Vik but 1st a shout-out for The Soup Enterprise in Vik where we 1st stopped for some lunch right before going to the airplane wreck.

The Soup Company is a fantastic location to test Iceland’s well-known red hot lava soup. It’s their signature beef goulash soup, is entire of flavour and comes in a black lava bread bowl with yoghurt on the aspect.

But they do numerous other soups, way too, such as an Icelandic lamb soup, a curried fish soup with Iceland cod and shrimps, and an Indian winter soup (with carrots, onions, lentils, coconut product, crushed pineapple and Indian herbs and spices). If you just cannot make your mind up, just select the tasting menu (for a single) wherever you get to consider a few soups in a few bowls.

Whatever you opt for, they are healthful and filling, and they’ll even refill your bowl if you’d like extra!

Sensation suitably refreshed, we hopped back again into the automobile and made our way west alongside Route 1 to see the plane wreck.

But to start with, I’ll give a very little qualifications to the crash. It was again in 1973 that a US Navy transport aircraft ran into issue and crash-landed on the beach at Sólheimasandur. The aircraft was flying from Hofn Hornafjördur Airport to Naval Air Station Keflavik, immediately after delivering supplies to the radar station at Stokksnes. Despite the fact that described as the wreck of a Douglas DC-3, it is basically the remains of a transformed Douglas C-117.

Diverse theories abound as to what caused the crash. The Airline Safety Network states theat the airplane experienced severe icing, ensuing in the crew remaining not able to retain altitude, forcing thet airplane to land. Some say, though, that the crash happened since of a failure by one of the pilots when switching concerning fuel tanks, resulting in the aircraft operating out of gasoline and currently being compelled to land. Apparently there was thick fog and visibility was so very poor that there were being occasions when the crew was not able to see the ideas of the wings.

There is even confusion on the date of the crash. Several reports say it arrived down on 24th November 1973, but the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið reports, on the 22nd November 1973, that it experienced crashed the working day right before the date of publication. This day of 21st November 1973 looks to be accurate, and is backed up by the Aviation Safety Network summary.

Whichever took place, and on whatsoever date, just about every crew member survived without considerable injuries and the stays of the aircraft had been deserted on the seashore. The airplane was subsequently stripped by the US Navy of anything at all of benefit, but the principal fuselage however lies wherever the aircraft crashed. It has previously been used as storage by the farmer whose land it had crashed on, as properly as for goal follow by community hunters (which accounts for the bullet holes you could see), but has since become a vacationer attraction in its individual ideal, possibly assisted by coverage it has gained in music films and on Tv (see below).

You applied to be in a position to travel all the way to the crash site, or even remain right away there, but each are no longer achievable. Though it is located on personal land, you can, nevertheless, however go to and there is a significant motor vehicle park just off the major Route 1 ring street.


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Most folks stop by on foot from listed here, but there is the option to get the Aircraft Wreck Shuttle. Although men and women waited a limited while for this when we have been there, it soon materialised that it was not managing. In the earlier, there has been the possibility to retain the services of a ‘fat bike’ but we noticed no evidence of this at the time of our stop by.

A indication tells website visitors that it will take 3-4 hrs to hike equally strategies.  This does not look all that practical in my view – on a good day, I believe it can be finished one particular way in about 30 minutes if strolling briskly or inside of an hour if walking at a a lot more at ease pace.  That mentioned, possibly a generous time estimate is supplied for excellent rationale given that the weather conditions can change quickly and can adversely have an affect on visibility, so it is very best to err on the side of warning. Do just take care – an American vacationer died in 2017 shut to the aircraft, as did two Chinese holidaymakers in their early 20s in 2020, presumably caught out by adverse climate circumstances. It’s hence a superior strategy to verify Iceland’s temperature provider (vedur.is) ahead of venturing out. And do not forget about the crisis number in Iceland which is 112.

The route to the airplane wreck is additional obviously described at present than it has been in the earlier, helped by occasional reflective markers in the floor, ideally reducing the risk of men and women obtaining shed.  As walks go, it’s not a quite fascinating a single – you are essentially going for walks above a glacial outwash plain that appears like this.

Sooner or later, immediately after about two miles of this nearly post-apocalyptic landscape, the path observe veers to the remaining and the aircraft arrives into watch in the length.

When we arrived, there were being men and women climbing all over it. I have read through that this is unlawful but am not certain if this is real. Irrespective, I would not advocate it – to start with, there are sections of the aircraft that did not search quite secure secondly, it would not be a wonderful position to slip and twist an ankle (or even worse nevertheless, break a leg) and thirdly, it’s just not extremely considerate to other men and women visiting and seeking to just take images.

Whilst the aircraft wreck is pretty interesting to see and seem all-around, I do not assume you will require that long there the moment you have observed it. It’s a interesting scene in the center of nowhere, surrounded by mile upon mile of nothingness – just black sand as much as the eye can see.

You can see within the dilapidated fuselage. Apparently the aircraft served in both Korean and Vietnamese wars in advance of being deployed to Iceland’s Keflavik Airport.

Compared with many of Iceland’s attractions, the plane wreck differtiates alone mainly because it is completely synthetic, giving a hanging distinction with its or else untouched normal environment.

This surreal scene – a grey fuselage set from a black backdrop and frequently a grey sky, seems extra like a scene from a science fiction movie that it does truth. For this explanation also, of training course, it signifies a photographer’s paradise.

For a number of a long time, the community Icelandic people today did not regard the wreckage to be a thing of global curiosity and fascination and even reviewed have it eliminated for the reason that it was a blot on an usually untouched and pristine landscape.

Supplied its enduring recognition at present, it appears to be not likely that this will at any time happen. Yet, I’m positive lots of would dilemma the enchantment in traveling to this wreck specified the several all-natural wonders that you could pay a visit to in Iceland as a substitute.

Most likely it’s the otherworldly landscape that the wreck is set in as nicely as the mystery that surrounds the crash that provides to the intrigue. One matter for positive is that the publicity that the wreck has acquired through different media has absolutely elevated recognition of, and curiosity in, the web site. Potentially most famously of all, Justin Bieber’s video for the track I’ll Exhibit You functions him skateboarding on the best of it. Watch from 2 minutes 11 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/look at?v=PfGaX8G0f2E

The new music video for the music Gerua in the Bollywood movie Diwale sees actors Shah Rukh Khan (aka SRK) and Kajol posing on top rated of the plane. Check out from 1 min 31 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/look at?v=AEIVhBS6baE

And the songs video for the song Let Me In, from Korean woman team Loona, also options the aircraft. Observe from 53 seconds.

Mercurio by Emis Killa is still a further music video to attribute the wreck. Check out from 1m 38 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/observe?v=E8xnc2p43Qk

Eventually, the plane wreck also appears when Mikael encounters it in the Netflix sci-fi drama, Katla.

Planning a journey to Iceland you? You can watch a video clip from our vacation to Iceland in this article. You can briefly see footage of the plane wreck among 5m 23s and 5m 29s:

https://www.youtube.com/check out?v=KNcJZYAzftk

Disclosure: Our trip to Iceland was also sponsored by Helly Hansen.

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