Sólheimasandur Beach

  • Sólheimasandur Beach - Iceland
    © Sigurdur Bjarnason / CC BY Pinterest
  • Sólheimasandur Beach - Iceland
    © Thomas Leuthard / CC BY Pinterest
  • Sólheimasandur Beach - Iceland
    © Hans Braxmeier and licensed for reuse under this Licence Pinterest

In geological terms, the black sand plains of Sólheimasandur are a baby. Formed centuries, rather than millions of years ago the bleak landscape here is the result of glacial action caused by an eruption of one of Iceland’s largest and most active volcanoes - Katla.

However, this uniquely Icelandic landscape is only the backdrop to Sólheimasandur beach’s main attraction - the US Navy DC-3 plane wreck. Creating an evocative outline on the otherwise featureless plains this site has become one of the region’s biggest tourist attractions. In fact a car park and access road have been built recently to cope with the interest.

Not a lot is known about the crash. It happened on November 24th 1973 and everyone on board survived, but the exact cause of the forced landing is still something of a mystery. The most likely reason was running out of fuel although some sources report the engines also iced up. Whatever the cause the remains are surprisingly well preserved, although it seems a few parts, including the tail section, appear to have been “salvaged” over the years.

One interesting fact about the plane wreck which is commonly referred to as the Sólheimasandur DC-3 is that it is in fact a C-117.

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