U.S. Navy DC-3 Wreckage – Iceland - Atlas Obscura

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U.S. Navy DC-3 Wreckage

This wrecked airplane has been sitting on a black sand beach since the 1970s. 


Just inland on the shore of Iceland’s black sand Sólheimasandur Beach, the hull of a crashed military plane has been slowly falling apart since the 1970s, with a little help from enterprising locals. 

The US Navy DC-3 super bus plane crash landed in 1973, and luckily everyone survived. While no one is positive exactly why the airplane went down, the suspected culprit was an empty fuel tank that the pilot may have tried to access. However, whatever the reason, the plane had to make an emergency landing on the beach on November 24th, 1973. As opposed to attempting to salvage the wreckage, it was simply left to rot in its isolated spot on an Icelandic beach.

While it is still in remarkably good condition given its 40 years out in the elements, a great deal of the fuselage has disappeared. According to one report, the entire tail section was stolen by a local farmer who sold it. However, most of the cabin and the wing engines are still found on the site. 

The walk out to the wreck is otherworldly - the landscape is harsh and the wind from the ocean can be intense. The plane has been stripped, but it’s still a dramatic site and fun to poke around. While it is pretty far off the beaten path, the picturesque wreckage still manages to attract a steady stream of visitors, but they do little to take away from the decaying majesty of the remains.

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