Visiting Iceland’s famous plane wreck

Iceland is of course greatest identified for currently being the ‘Land of Hearth and Ice’, thanks to its many volcanoes and glaciers. There are having said that some other exciting and fairly unconventional attractions, and one of these is the aircraft wreck on Sólheimasandur, a black seashore on the south coast of Iceland.

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

The Soup Organization is a excellent place to try out Iceland’s famed pink scorching lava soup. It’s their signature beef goulash soup, is total of flavour and arrives in a black lava bread bowl with yoghurt on the side.

But they do quite a few other soups, as well, these types 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 can not decide, simply opt for the tasting menu (for one particular) wherever you get to test a few soups in three bowls.

Whatever you decide on, they are healthful and filling, and they’ll even refill your bowl if you’d like far more!

Emotion suitably refreshed, we hopped back again into the car and created our way west alongside Route 1 to see the plane wreck.

But initial, I’ll give a small history to the crash. It was back in 1973 that a US Navy transportation plane ran into problems and crash-landed on the beach at Sólheimasandur. The plane was traveling from Hofn Hornafjördur Airport to Naval Air Station Keflavik, following offering materials to the radar station at Stokksnes. Although noted as the wreck of a Douglas DC-3, it is really the remains of a transformed Douglas C-117.

Different theories abound as to what triggered the crash. The Airline Safety Community states theat the plane seasoned intense icing, ensuing in the crew getting unable to keep altitude, forcing thet airplane to land. Some say, nevertheless, that the crash happened for the reason that of a failure by 1 of the pilots when switching among fuel tanks, ensuing in the plane working out of gas and being pressured to land. Seemingly there was thick fog and visibility was so weak that there were situations when the crew was unable to see the suggestions of the wings.

There is even confusion on the date of the crash. Lots of reviews say it arrived down on 24th November 1973, yet the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið reviews, on the 22nd November 1973, that it experienced crashed the day prior to the day of publication. This day of 21st November 1973 looks to be exact, and is backed up by the Aviation Basic safety Community summary.

Whatsoever transpired, and on whatsoever day, each crew member survived without important accidents and the continues to be of the airplane had been abandoned on the beach. The aircraft was subsequently stripped by the US Navy of anything at all of value, but the main fuselage even now lies in which the aircraft crashed. It has earlier been made use of as storage by the farmer whose land it had crashed on, as nicely as for target follow by area hunters (which accounts for the bullet holes you may possibly see), but has since develop into a tourist attraction in its individual right, almost certainly aided by protection it has received in new music video clips and on Television (see below).

You employed to be ready to travel all the way to the crash internet site, or even continue to be right away there, but the two are no lengthier achievable. Although it is situated on private land, you can, nevertheless, however stop by and there is a substantial auto park just off the principal Route 1 ring road.


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Most persons take a look at on foot from in this article, but there is the solution to acquire the Plane Wreck Shuttle. Whilst folks waited a shorter although for this when we were being there, it quickly 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 take a look at.

A indication tells readers that it requires 3-4 hours to hike both equally methods.  This does not look all that realistic in my opinion – on a very good day, I feel it can be finished one particular way in about 30 minutes if walking briskly or inside an hour if going for walks at a far more cozy rate.  That claimed, maybe a generous time estimate is supplied for excellent motive given that the weather can change promptly and can adversely have an affect on visibility, so it’s very best to err on the facet of caution. Do acquire treatment – an American vacationer died in 2017 near to the aircraft, as did two Chinese travelers in their early 20s in 2020, presumably caught out by adverse climate circumstances. It is therefore a fantastic thought to check out Iceland’s climate provider (vedur.is) in advance of venturing out. And never neglect the emergency quantity in Iceland which is 112.

The route to the airplane wreck is far more plainly defined at present than it has been in the past, served by occasional reflective markers in the floor, ideally decreasing the threat of individuals acquiring missing.  As walks go, it’s not a extremely fascinating 1 – you’re essentially strolling in excess of a glacial outwash plain that appears to be like like this.

Inevitably, soon after about two miles of this almost article-apocalyptic landscape, the route track veers to the remaining and the airplane comes into view in the length.

When we arrived, there were being persons climbing all above it. I have browse that this is unlawful but am not confident if this is genuine. Regardless, I wouldn’t advocate it – for starters, there are sections of the plane that didn’t look quite steady secondly, it wouldn’t be a terrific position to slip and twist an ankle (or worse still, break a leg) and thirdly, it is just not quite considerate to other persons checking out and seeking to take pictures.

While the plane wreck is very interesting to see and search all around, I do not consider you will need that prolonged there as soon as you have witnessed it. It’s a interesting scene in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mile upon mile of nothingness – just black sand as considerably as the eye can see.

You can see inside the dilapidated fuselage. Evidently the plane served in both equally Korean and Vietnamese wars prior to staying deployed to Iceland’s Keflavik Airport.

As opposed to lots of of Iceland’s attractions, the airplane wreck differtiates alone due to the fact it is totally synthetic, supplying a hanging distinction with its usually untouched organic atmosphere.

This surreal scene – a gray fuselage set in opposition to a black backdrop and typically a grey sky, seems much more like a scene from a science fiction movie that it does fact. For this motive also, of course, it signifies a photographer’s paradise.

For a amount of many years, the local Icelandic people did not regard the wreckage to be one thing of global desire and fascination and even mentioned have it eradicated since it was a blot on an normally untouched and pristine landscape.

Supplied its enduring popularity at present, it appears to be unlikely that this will ever occur. Even so, I’m confident numerous would concern the attraction in checking out this wreck supplied the many natural wonders that you could stop by in Iceland as an alternative.

Maybe it’s the otherworldly landscape that the wreck is established in as well as the mystery that surrounds the crash that adds to the intrigue. Just one thing for absolutely sure is that the publicity that the wreck has been given by means of various media has unquestionably increased recognition of, and interest in, the internet site. Potentially most famously of all, Justin Bieber’s video clip for the song I’ll Demonstrate You features him skateboarding on the top of it. View from 2 mins 11 seconds.

The audio video clip for the tune Gerua in the Bollywood movie Diwale sees actors Shah Rukh Khan (aka SRK) and Kajol posing on leading of the aircraft. Look at from 1 min 31 seconds.

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

And the tunes video for the tune Allow Me In, from Korean female team Loona, also characteristics the airplane. Watch from 53 seconds.

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

Mercurio by Emis Killa is however a further tunes online video to element the wreck. Check out from 1m 38 seconds.

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

At last, the airplane wreck also appears when Mikael encounters it in the Netflix sci-fi drama, Katla.

Scheduling a trip to Iceland yourself? You can check out a video clip from our vacation to Iceland below. You can briefly see footage of the aircraft wreck among 5m 23s and 5m 29s:

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

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

Karen J. Simmons

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