Crashed Plane Site - Iceland

Friday, July 19, 2013

Yuriy had a swell idea to hike out to a crashed plane in the middle of nowhere, Iceland.  I didn't think much of it and followed his lead, not knowing this would turn into a painful all-day adventure.

There's not much information about it online, but according to this guy, a Douglas C-117 US Navy plane crash landed on the coast after running out of fuel during bad weather in 1973. When a helicopter tried to recover the remains, it too crashed and killed several people. The US decided to give up on it and abandoned the plane where it had landed.

According to a few people's reviews online, we knew it was about an hour walk from the road, headed straight toward the ocean. We determined where to pull over based on a small river that runs near the plane. Problem is, there are many streams that run from the mountains to the ocean, and we pulled over at the wrong spot. It was very flat, barren, cold, and with the lack of trees and hills, extremely windy. The entire time, we strained our eyes to see if there was a plane in the distance, and many plane shapes turned out to be only boulders. Once we reached the ocean and no plane, Yuriy pulled up the map on his phone and only then realized we were probably in the wrong area. Walking back to our car was much harder as we were now heading into the strong wind. I almost gave up on the plane, but Yuriy talked me into trying again with, "if we don't see it in 20 minutes we'll turn back" (like he always does).

Another hour later, we could see the plane but were on the wrong side of a small river. We kept thinking it would get narrower so we could jump over, but it only got wider and wider and was actually pretty deep and swift where it met the ocean. So we walked back to a calmer area, took our shoes off, and walked through the icy water barefoot. We had gone too far to let it stop us.

Alas, after 3 or 4 hours of searching, we approached the lonely plane skeleton with triumph and smiles, feeling like successful explorers. The battered plane looked ghostly against the black volcanic sand. As we approached it, it started to hail and we climbed inside to warm up. Taking my gloves off even for a few minutes to snap photos resulted in painfully numb fingers. We climbed on top of the plane and looked out at the nothingness, and felt like we understood what drives explorers and how Columbus found America.

- Julia

P.S. See the plane via satellite here and here (this one's better quality). (courtesy of Ian Grant)

25 comments :

  1. There's an abandoned plane where I used to live in Canada, people turned it into a party house (Trashy, but still a party house).

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    1. Zhanna - Ha! Nice! That must be a pretty big plane. You can't stand up all the way in this one.

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  2. wow! i can't believe your photos! and that crashed plane looks so eerie and beautiful in that plain at the same time!

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  3. So eery! Love the photo of Yuriy standing on top in his bright red jacket.

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  4. This is incredible, i wish i had known about it when I went to Iceland. :)

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  5. What an incredible adventure -- LOVE the pics!!!!!!

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  6. There's something so beautiful and eerie about the plane. If I ever visit Iceland, I would love to see it. Actually going out and walking to the plane, might be a difficult feat for me though! The satellite image of the plane is crazy. It's so clear.

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  7. Wow how cool! I love these plane pics-what a one-of-a-kind experience! Beautiful as always.

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  8. how amazing! my friend has been here and his photos are just as incredible as yours. this place is on my bucket list!

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  9. these photos. i am in constant awe of the talent you two possess! and triumph indeed in finding the plane! xo, t.

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    1. tiffany - I know you could do it too. ;)

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  10. These photos are amazing. That plane is incredible.

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  11. If you take the right turn on the Ring road, you can actually almost drive next to it with a regular car. We were able to get as close as 300m from the wreck with our car.

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    1. There are no roads near the plane, as you can see from the satellite images I linked to. You can drive right up to the plane with an off-roading vehicle, however. Maybe that's what you guys did. That takes the fun out of it, though. ;)

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  12. Can't believe I forgot about this blog of yours...so gooooooood.

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  13. That plane really is difficult to find, even with a car. It looks even more beat up since I saw it in April, too. Great photos.

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  14. this is great. we're gonna try and find the plane as well. we leave saturday. what time of year did you guys go?

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    1. Andrew - We went in late March earlier this year. The roads were perfectly clear by then. Have fun!

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  15. I made the same mistake you did. I found the plane easily, but was on the wrong side of the glacier creek. That creek is cold. I found out later, there is a way to drive down to it. The second time I went....I drove.

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  16. I looked for a plane yesterday, could not find it,will try again tomorrow.

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  17. thanks for sharing. I found your blog when looking for directions to the plane about 10 days ago and it helped me a lot. love your photos!

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  18. I wondering about search and reading about travel blogs.
    Its my hobby to read about travel blog.
    Mostly i go for travel many places.
    So i want to knowledge about it.east coast bus tour

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