Sólheimasandur Airplane wreck the real story

It was on the 21st of November 1973 when a Douglas C-117 airplane from the U.S. Navy was on its way from Stokksnes by Höfn in Hornafjörður in the East part of Iceland to the Navy base in Keflavík. The weather was bad, with low visibility and flying condition got worse, there was a lot of icing in the air that started to stick on to the airplane, until both motors broke down. 

The crew did not know exactly where they were and almost flew into a mountain when the airplane started to lose altitude. The co-pilot decided to head south and try to make an emergency landing on the ocean. It was the better option than crash into a mountain, though they knew they would only survive in the ocean for few minutes. When they got down through the fog and the clouds they saw a black sand area (Sólheimasandur) they did not know where it was but they said it looked like the moon. Now they saw a possibility to make an emergency landing on the black sand coastline. And they did, the landing was perfect on the frozen black beach, everyone got away without bad injuries. The Navy then took what they could us for spare parts, and the rest of the plane they left there on Sólheimasandur.

It became a storage for driftwood for the farmers as well as being a playground for shooting practice. Later on, it became a home for the Raven that build his nest in the cockpit. For the last years, the airplane wreck on Sólheimasandur has come to be one of the most known and popular sides for tourist in Iceland. The place is beautiful with the black sand area build up by the volcano Katla and amazing views to the mountains and the glaciers Mýrdalsjökull, Sólheimajökull and Eyjafjallajökull.

It has become the scene of many photographers and filmmakers who have used the plane wreck and the unique landscape on Sólheimasandur to create a special structure for their work.

It is possible to do an ATV tour down to the plane wreck with Arcanum see: Arcanum ATV tour

 

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