Visiting Iceland’s famous plane wreck

Iceland is of study course best recognized for being the ‘Land of Fireplace and Ice’, many thanks to its many volcanoes and glaciers. There are nevertheless some other intriguing and considerably unusual points of interest, and one of these is the airplane wreck on Sólheimasandur, a black seaside on the south coast of Iceland.

It is about a 20-minute generate from Vik but initially a shout-out for The Soup Business in Vik the place we initially stopped for some lunch ahead of traveling to the plane wreck.

The Soup Enterprise is a terrific position to try out Iceland’s renowned pink hot lava soup. It’s their signature beef goulash soup, is entire of flavour and will come in a black lava bread bowl with yoghurt on the side.

But they do lots of other soups, as well, these as an Icelandic lamb soup, a curried fish soup with Iceland cod and shrimps, and an Indian winter season soup (with carrots, onions, lentils, coconut cream, crushed pineapple and Indian herbs and spices). If you just cannot decide, simply pick out the tasting menu (for one) exactly where you get to try a few soups in three bowls.

Regardless of what you decide on, they are wholesome and filling, and they’ll even refill your bowl if you’d like far more!

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

But initially, I’ll give a little history to the crash. It was back 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, after offering supplies to the radar station at Stokksnes. Even though reported as the wreck of a Douglas DC-3, it is truly the remains of a transformed Douglas C-117.

Unique theories abound as to what prompted the crash. The Airline Basic safety Network states theat the plane knowledgeable severe icing, resulting in the crew being not able to keep altitude, forcing thet airplane to land. Some say, nevertheless, that the crash took place because of a failure by one of the pilots when switching among gasoline tanks, ensuing in the aircraft managing out of gas and staying compelled to land. Evidently there was thick fog and visibility was so bad that there ended up times when the crew was unable to see the strategies of the wings.

There is even confusion on the date of the crash. A lot of reports say it arrived down on 24th November 1973, nevertheless the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið reviews, on the 22nd November 1973, that it experienced crashed the working day ahead of the date of publication. This day of 21st November 1973 would seem to be precise, and is backed up by the Aviation Security Community summary.

No matter what happened, and on regardless of what date, just about every crew member survived with no significant injuries and the remains of the aircraft have been deserted on the beach. The plane was subsequently stripped by the US Navy of anything of worth, but the key fuselage even now lies in which the aircraft crashed. It has earlier been utilized as storage by the farmer whose land it had crashed on, as effectively as for target exercise by nearby hunters (which accounts for the bullet holes you might see), but has because become a vacationer attraction in its have suitable, likely assisted by coverage it has acquired in audio films and on Tv (see beneath).

You employed to be in a position to push all the way to the crash website, or even stay overnight there, but the two are no more time attainable. Though it is positioned on private land, you can, even so, nonetheless check out and there is a massive car or truck park just off the main Route 1 ring road.


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Most people today take a look at on foot from right here, but there is the solution to choose the Aircraft Wreck Shuttle. Even though people today waited a short whilst for this when we have been there, it before long materialised that it was not working. In the previous, there has been the alternative to employ a ‘fat bike’ but we noticed no evidence of this at the time of our go to.

A indication tells website visitors that it can take 3-4 several hours to hike both of those methods.  This does not look all that realistic in my feeling – on a fantastic day, I believe it can be done 1 way in about 30 minutes if going for walks briskly or inside an hour if strolling at a much more comfy tempo.  That said, potentially a generous time estimate is given for superior rationale due to the fact the climate can change promptly and can adversely influence visibility, so it is finest to err on the aspect of caution. Do take care – an American vacationer died in 2017 shut to the plane, as did two Chinese visitors in their early 20s in 2020, presumably caught out by adverse climate conditions. It’s as a result a great strategy to examine Iceland’s temperature company (vedur.is) in advance of venturing out. And don’t forget about the emergency amount in Iceland which is 112.

The path to the airplane wreck is far more clearly defined nowadays than it has been in the earlier, served by occasional reflective markers in the floor, hopefully lessening the chance of persons acquiring missing.  As walks go, it is not a really exciting one particular – you are fundamentally going for walks above a glacial outwash simple that looks like this.

At some point, after about two miles of this nearly put up-apocalyptic landscape, the path monitor veers to the remaining and the airplane comes into view in the length.

When we arrived, there ended up people today climbing all around it. I have read that this is illegal but am not confident if this is legitimate. Regardless, I would not suggest it – firstly, there are parts of the plane that didn’t glance really steady next, it would not be a terrific position to slip and twist an ankle (or worse nonetheless, split a leg) and thirdly, it is just not really thoughtful to other folks viewing and seeking to consider photos.

Even though the airplane wreck is really intriguing to see and look around, I really don’t imagine you will require that prolonged there after you have viewed it. It’s a intriguing scene in the center of nowhere, surrounded by mile on mile of nothingness – just black sand as considerably as the eye can see.

You can see inside of the dilapidated fuselage. Apparently the plane served in both Korean and Vietnamese wars right before remaining deployed to Iceland’s Keflavik Airport.

Not like lots of of Iceland’s points of interest, the plane wreck differtiates by itself simply because it is fully artificial, delivering a putting contrast with its in any other case untouched natural setting.

This surreal scene – a grey fuselage established towards a black backdrop and often a gray sky, appears to be like additional like a scene from a science fiction motion picture that it does reality. For this motive also, of class, it represents a photographer’s paradise.

For a range of years, the nearby Icelandic people today did not regard the wreckage to be something of worldwide curiosity and fascination and even reviewed have it taken out due to the fact it was a blot on an normally untouched and pristine landscape.

Presented its enduring popularity nowadays, it would seem not likely that this will ever occur. Nonetheless, I’m certain a lot of would concern the attractiveness in going to this wreck offered the lots of all-natural wonders that you could visit in Iceland as a substitute.

Most likely it’s the otherworldly landscape that the wreck is set in as effectively as the thriller that surrounds the crash that provides to the intrigue. A single point for positive is that the publicity that the wreck has obtained as a result of different media has surely elevated consciousness of, and fascination in, the website. Possibly most famously of all, Justin Bieber’s movie for the music I’ll Clearly show You attributes him skateboarding on the major of it. Enjoy from 2 minutes 11 seconds.

The songs online video for the track Gerua in the Bollywood film Diwale sees actors Shah Rukh Khan (aka SRK) and Kajol posing on prime of the plane. Observe from 1 min 31 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/enjoy?v=AEIVhBS6baE

And the songs video clip for the song Let Me In, from Korean girl group Loona, also attributes the aircraft. View from 53 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/view?v=6a4BWpBJppI

Mercurio by Emis Killa is nevertheless a different audio video clip to function the wreck. Enjoy from 1m 38 seconds.

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

Last but not least, the airplane wreck also appears when Mikael encounters it in the Netflix sci-fi drama, Katla.

Scheduling a vacation to Iceland oneself? You can look at a online video from our vacation to Iceland listed here. You can briefly see footage of the plane wreck between 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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