In 1973, a US Navy plane suffered severe icing and was forced to land on Solheimasandur beach on the southern coast of Iceland. The crew survived, but the plane was stuck in the black sands. The US Navy attempted to retrieve their plane, but when they couldn’t remove it, they removed some of the fuel from one tank, and then left it there… Fortunately for a farmer, they didn’t take the second tank, and he was supposedly able to use the fuel for a year for his tractor… Who doesn’t love a lucky break?
Over the years, parts have vanished from the plane, particularly the tail and wings. It is now just the shell of the plane, thankfully with a floor inside still, and some wiring and tangled junk in the cockpit. However, still an amazing sight to see. The plane is mostly white, although not a brilliant white any more, and set against the black sands, with the mountains in the distance… It is truly unique.
Unfortunately for us, it was insanely windy as we arrived at the plane. Thankfully, we were able to drive all the way down to it, I don’t think we could have walked all the way from the road in that wind! There is a little path down to the plane through the sands, our Duster had no problem with this, and as we left, there was a car pulling up, so I would assume it can be done in a car as well, although I know I would prefer the Duster… Anyways, wind, we were battered with it, as soon as I opened the car door, the hat I was wearing blew off, thankfully, into the hood of the car! It made pictures challenging, the lens kept kept getting drops of rain on it (a constant problem throughout the South and East of Iceland). We checked the plane out as fast as we could and were happy to finally get back in the warm car!
Here’s the location of the plane wreck, and the road to get to it:
After our exploration of the plane we continued on our way to Dyrhólaey, which has a large natural sea arch to be seen. By the time we arrived, the wind was still extreme, and the rain was on and off. We took one branch in the road, which I assume would have led to a view of the sea arch, but it took us up and into the wind and rain, and we just didn’t feel it was worth getting out of the car… I’ve seen sea arches before, I could miss this one.
We took the other branch in the road which gave us a view of one beach off to the East. At this point the rain had let up for a moment, and I noticed a path down onto a beach to the West, which was sheltered amongst the large cliffs, providing shelter from the wind. We decided to at least check this out. It was beautiful, but so weird to look at. The black sands, the black cliffs, the grey clouds, and the grey ocean (I assume from all of the black sand), it was surreal and gloomy, almost unreal.
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