Iceland is of training course best regarded for getting the ‘Land of Fireplace and Ice’, many thanks to its many volcanoes and glaciers. There are even so some other exciting and to some degree abnormal points of interest, and one particular of these is the aircraft wreck on Sólheimasandur, a black beach on the south coast of Iceland.
It’s about a 20-minute travel from Vik but first a shout-out for The Soup Organization in Vik where by we to start with stopped for some lunch in advance of checking out the plane wreck.
The Soup Organization is a great place to test Iceland’s well-known crimson scorching lava soup. It’s their signature beef goulash soup, is entire of flavour and arrives in a black lava bread bowl with yoghurt on the aspect.
But they do lots of other soups, much too, this sort of 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 product, crushed pineapple and Indian herbs and spices). If you just can’t come to a decision, basically opt for the tasting menu (for one particular) where you get to attempt a few soups in 3 bowls.
Whichever you choose, they are healthful and filling, and they’ll even refill your bowl if you’d like far more!
Feeling suitably refreshed, we hopped again into the car or truck and produced our way west along Route 1 to see the plane wreck.
But initial, I’ll give a small qualifications to the crash. It was back again in 1973 that a US Navy transport aircraft ran into trouble and crash-landed on the beach at Sólheimasandur. The aircraft was traveling from Hofn Hornafjördur Airport to Naval Air Station Keflavik, right after offering provides to the radar station at Stokksnes. Despite the fact that described as the wreck of a Douglas DC-3, it is basically the continues to be of a converted Douglas C-117.
Distinctive theories abound as to what prompted the crash. The Airline Safety Community states theat the plane expert intense icing, resulting in the crew currently being unable to keep altitude, forcing thet airplane to land. Some say, even though, that the crash happened for the reason that of a failure by a person of the pilots when switching between gasoline tanks, ensuing in the airplane managing out of gas and staying compelled to land. Seemingly there was thick fog and visibility was so bad that there were being periods when the crew was not able to see the recommendations of the wings.
There’s even confusion on the day of the crash. Quite a few studies say it came down on 24th November 1973, still the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið stories, on the 22nd November 1973, that it had crashed the working day ahead of the date of publication. This date of 21st November 1973 seems to be correct, and is backed up by the Aviation Protection Network summary.
Whatsoever happened, and on no matter what date, each crew member survived without the need of sizeable injuries and the stays of the plane had been deserted on the seaside. The airplane was subsequently stripped by the US Navy of everything of price, but the main fuselage even now lies exactly where the aircraft crashed. It has earlier been used as storage by the farmer whose land it had crashed on, as properly as for focus on observe by neighborhood hunters (which accounts for the bullet holes you could see), but has since grow to be a tourist attraction in its individual appropriate, likely helped by protection it has acquired in audio videos and on Television (see below).
You employed to be capable to push all the way to the crash web-site, or even keep right away there, but equally are no for a longer period feasible. Whilst it is positioned on private land, you can, even so, still stop by and there is a big auto park just off the primary Route 1 ring road.
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Most men and women go to on foot from below, but there is the option to take the Airplane Wreck Shuttle. Although people waited a short although for this when we were being there, it shortly materialised that it was not functioning. In the previous, there has been the alternative to employ a ‘fat bike’ but we saw no proof of this at the time of our pay a visit to.
A signal tells guests that it requires 3-4 several hours to hike both of those methods. This does not seem to be all that practical in my view – on a good working day, I believe it can be completed a single way in about 30 minutes if strolling briskly or inside an hour if going for walks at a far more comfortable tempo. That stated, perhaps a generous time estimate is presented for great purpose because the temperature can improve immediately and can adversely have an impact on visibility, so it’s most effective to err on the aspect of caution. Do acquire care – an American vacationer died in 2017 near to the airplane, as did two Chinese vacationers in their early 20s in 2020, presumably caught out by adverse weather conditions problems. It is hence a great idea to check out Iceland’s climate service (vedur.is) before venturing out. And really don’t overlook the crisis number in Iceland which is 112.
The path to the airplane wreck is much more plainly defined nowadays than it has been in the past, helped by occasional reflective markers in the ground, hopefully minimizing the threat of persons finding dropped. As walks go, it’s not a quite fascinating one particular – you are mainly strolling in excess of a glacial outwash basic that appears like this.
Ultimately, after about two miles of this pretty much submit-apocalyptic landscape, the route monitor veers to the still left and the airplane arrives into watch in the length.
When we arrived, there were being men and women climbing all around it. I have browse that this is unlawful but am not sure if this is legitimate. Irrespective, I wouldn’t propose it – to begin with, there are parts of the airplane that did not look extremely stable secondly, it would not be a wonderful spot to slip and twist an ankle (or worse even now, break a leg) and thirdly, it is just not incredibly considerate to other folks going to and wanting to take pictures.
Although the plane wreck is fairly fascinating to see and seem close to, I do not feel you are going to have to have that very long there at the time you have found it. It’s a intriguing scene in the center of nowhere, surrounded by mile on mile of nothingness – just black sand as significantly as the eye can see.
You can see inside of the dilapidated fuselage. Seemingly the aircraft served in equally Korean and Vietnamese wars just before staying deployed to Iceland’s Keflavik Airport.
As opposed to numerous of Iceland’s sights, the airplane wreck differtiates itself for the reason that it is fully synthetic, offering a striking distinction with its normally untouched pure atmosphere.
This surreal scene – a grey fuselage established against a black backdrop and typically a grey sky, seems additional like a scene from a science fiction motion picture that it does reality. For this rationale also, of program, it represents a photographer’s paradise.
For a variety of yrs, the regional Icelandic persons did not regard the wreckage to be something of international desire and fascination and even discussed have it eliminated for the reason that it was a blot on an if not untouched and pristine landscape.
Presented its enduring acceptance presently, it looks unlikely that this will ever materialize. Nonetheless, I’m sure a lot of would dilemma the attraction in visiting this wreck given the a lot of organic wonders that you could check out in Iceland instead.
Most likely it’s the otherworldly landscape that the wreck is established in as effectively as the secret that surrounds the crash that provides to the intrigue. One point for certain is that the publicity that the wreck has been given by a variety of media has unquestionably amplified awareness of, and fascination in, the internet site. Maybe most famously of all, Justin Bieber’s online video for the song I’ll Present You features him skateboarding on the prime of it. Enjoy from 2 minutes 11 seconds.
The music video for the song Gerua in the Bollywood film Diwale sees actors Shah Rukh Khan (aka SRK) and Kajol posing on top of the plane. Enjoy from 1 min 31 seconds.
And the audio movie for the track Enable Me In, from Korean female team Loona, also features the airplane. Watch from 53 seconds.
Mercurio by Emis Killa is nevertheless another songs video clip to aspect the wreck. Look at from 1m 38 seconds.
Eventually, the airplane wreck also appears when Mikael encounters it in the Netflix sci-fi drama, Katla.
Organizing a trip to Iceland by yourself? You can enjoy a movie from our vacation to Iceland listed here. You can briefly see footage of the plane wreck in between 5m 23s and 5m 29s:
Disclosure: Our trip to Iceland was also sponsored by Helly Hansen.