Information about DC3 Plane Wreck

The DC Plane Wreck is a famous site located within the black sand desert of Solheimasandur, South Iceland. The wreckage is a particularly beloved spot by local and visiting photographers alike thanks to its sparse and wild surrounding landscape and its incredible visual contrast to the aircraft’s gnarled metal.

The DC Plane Wreck is a famous site located within the black sand desert of Solheimasandur, South Iceland. The wreckage is a particularly beloved spot by local and visiting photographers alike thanks to its sparse and wild surrounding landscape and its incredible visual contrast to the aircraft’s gnarled metal.

Above photo is from South Coast Elements | Glacier Hike, Lava Caving, DC-3 Plane Wreck & Geothermal Pool.

History

The aircraft, a Douglas R4D-8, a Super DC-3, was originally in possession of the US Navy and considered to be a symbol of the golden age of air travel. Originally utilised as a cargo aircraft, the US Navy was routinely flying over Iceland during the 1970s as a part of its unilateral defence agreement with the country.

The aircraft crashed on Wednesday, November 21st, 1973, at around 14:00 as reported by the Aviation Safety Network. It was flying from Höfn in Iceland's East coast and onboard were 7 crew members.

No one to this day is exactly sure as to why the plane crashed, though it has been widely attributed to it being due to heavy icing. A forced landing was made on an icy river by the coast, the ice broke but the plane didn't sink. Thankfully, no one was to die in the crash, but the site was abandoned. In the years since its rocky landing, the DC Plane Wreck has borne the brunt of Iceland’s tempestuous weather; heavy rainfall, freezing and powerful gales. Today, the aircraft’s wings are no longer attached, and it has only half a tail (rumours stipulate that a local farmer cashed in on the tail long ago.)

Getting There

If you are looking to visit the DC Plane Wreck, you could join an organised hiking, horse riding or ATV riding tour that takes you right up to the site. Alternatively, you could choose to find the wreckage yourself, however, understand that it is illegal to approach the site in a 4x4 vehicle because it requires driving off-road. However, a recently built car park by the main road allows visitors to leave their vehicles and proceed to walk to the wreck, taking approximately 2 hours.

It should also be noted that as this is not a natural attraction, and thus visitors should not be too concerned about other climbing it for photographs. Icelanders themselves are not sensitive about this. However, do take extra precautions when moving around the wreck in order not to hurt yourself on the metal. 

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