On November 24, 1973, a United States Navy Douglas DC-3 airplane crashed on Iceland’s Sólheimasandur black sand beach – commonly called the Iceland plane wreck. The aircraft, flying from Höfn to Reykjavik, had no passengers, only carrying cargo, and was operated by four crew members. Fortunately, there were no fatalities, but the plane was severely damaged and never recovered.
The initial cause of the accident was severe icing which led to the aircraft running out of fuel due to a misreading of the fuel gauges. The crew then attempted to make an emergency landing on the Sólheimasandur black sand beach, but the aircraft hit the ground hard, causing severe damage to the fuselage.
The plane has all of its cargo, wings, engines, and cockpit removed, and the only remnants are the fuselage which is slowly decaying in the harsh Icelandic climate.
Iceland plane wreck uncensored
The wreckage of the DC-3 has remained on the beach largely untouched for several years, becoming a popular tourist attraction in the mid-2010s.
In recent years, however, the Icelandic government has restricted access to the site, as it has become a hazard for visitors, especially in winter. There have been numerous rescues of visitors at the site due to the harsh Icelandic weather that moves through the area.
I visited the plane wreck is probably the worst time of year – winter. The winds were easily 70kmph (45mph) with an average ambient temperature near 0C (30F). However, getting to the plane crash is relatively easy; a monster bus shuttles people from the roadside parking lot approximately 2km to the plane wreck every 30 minutes.
Despite all the challenges with the Iceland plane wreck, the site remains a popular dark tourism destination for photographers and adventurers who seek to capture the eerie beauty of the abandoned plane in its stark, windswept surroundings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Visiting the Iceland plane wreck is very easy. Take Highway 1 to the area and look for large signs on the side of the road advertising parking and a shuttle to the plane wreck. Paid transportation from the parking area to the plane wreck is available via a monster shuttle bus.
Tourism to the plane wreck is popular in warmer months. Expect dozens to hundreds of visitors jockeying to get photos with the Iceland plane wreck.