Few things can grab the world's attention quite like a plane crash. The news that an aircraft has gone down makes for massive headlines that captivate the globe; it's a real-life scenario that produces nightmarish horror. These aviation mishaps often mean significant death tolls - complete survival of those on board is a rarity - and the crash sites often become memorials or hallowed grounds that serve as a tribute to the lives that were lost.
But what becomes of the wreckage? Well, often times it's just left at the scene. Sometimes the plane has gone down in a remote area that's difficult to access, or the wreckage is left as a memorial to the passengers who perished in the crash. This list explores those plane wrecks that are still intact - mangled old ruins that are located in places you can visit if you're daring enough, and the scene doesn't give you creeps.
You Can Scuba Dive To Hawaii's Corsair Plane Wreck Site
In 1948, during a routine mission from Pearl Harbor, a Vought F4U Corsair went down three miles off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. In a forced water landing due to a fuel malfunction, the plane's captain was able to safely sink the plane, before being rescued shortly thereafter.
The plane ended up suffering very little damage, and it currently sits remarkably intact, roughly 150 feet underwater, making it a popular scuba diving attraction. It requires about a 15-minute journey, and it's considered an advanced dive, but the plane - which is fully upright - certainly makes for a unique site of exploration.
WWII History Is Preserved In The Many Plane Crash Sites Of The Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands were witness to a ton of air combat in World War II. A great many US and Japanese aircraft went down over these Islands, crashing in the jungles or sinking into the lush lagoons. Many of these wrecks are still placed where they went down.
In 2015, a photographer named Brandy Mueller discovered a mass sunken graveyard containing over 150 missing planes from World War II. Found while scuba diving off the coast of Roi-Namur in the Marshall Islands, the aircraft had been pushed into the sea after the Pacific campaign of the war ended in 1945.
Twisted Wreckage On Sólheimasandur’s Black Sand Beach Is A Haunting Tourist Destination
Perhaps one of the most eerie wreckage sites on Earth is an oft-photographed plane crash in Sólheimasandur, Iceland. The twisted wreckage that rests on the black sand beach (a haunting, apocalyptic-like scene) is that of a Douglas DC-3 that belonged to the US Navy.
The plane went down in November 1973 as part of a forced landing due to weather, and - fortunately - all crew members survived. The plane's fuselage still rests on the south Icelandic beach, and it has become a hot spot for the curious and photographers alike.
An Alaskan Aviation Relic Is A National Monument
On the remote Aleutian island of Atka off the shores of Alaska, there is a B-24 bomber that rests intact, though a bit mangled, in a spacious, scenic field. The plane went down in World War II during a routine weather-reporting mission, when its crew encountered nasty conditions, forcing them to ground on the small island. All those on-board survived, luckily, and the plane still sits there to this day, where it's been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.
A B-24 Sits On The Boulders In Arizona
In September of 1944, A B-24 carrying eight men went down en route from Bakersfield, California to Kirtland Army Air Field in New Mexico. The airplane crashed directly into Humphrey's Peak in Northern Arizona, which sits at an elevation of roughly 11,300 feet. All those aboard the aircraft died in the crash, and the wreckage still sits atop the remote, rocky location.
Those curious can still go visit the crash site, which hasn't changed much in the decades since it happened. Be warned, however, it's considered a difficult hike, taking about seven hours and covering a distance of nearly eight miles.
An Air Aruba P4-YSA Rests In The Jungles Of Curaçao
The wreckage site of Air Aruba P4-YSA looks like something out of the TV show LOST - the tangled hunk of fuselage from the turboprop airliner sits in the Caribbean jungles off the island of Curaçao, where it's slowly being retaken by the natural growth around it; jungle flowers grow from its instruments, and vines sprawl throughout the cabin. Though it's unclear how the plane got to its current resting place - only adding to its mystery and romanticism - the plane can be visited and entered to this day.
An R.A.F. Bomber's Torn Remains Rest In France
In Alpes-de-Haute-Provence of southern France sits the crumbling wreckage of a downed Royal Air Force bomber. The Wellington aircraft crashed in May of 1944 on a mission to bomb a German armaments plant in the town of Portes-les-Valance, where it was struck by anti-aircraft artillery. All five crew members burned to death in the crash.
The twisted metal debris can still be visited by today by history buffs, tourists, or the merely morbidly curious. Five plaques sit alongside the aircraft's torn remains, each bearing the name of a British soldier who was aboard the plane: a somber memorial for the fallen fighters.
You Can Hike To A Crash Site In The TWA Canyon In Santa Fe, New Mexico
Just north of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the Cibola National Forest, sits the wreckage of TWA Flight 260. The ill-fated aircraft crashed into Sandia Peak in February of 1955, killing all 13 passengers and three crew members that were on-board. The bodies were removed from the crash site of the Martin 4-0-4 aircraft, but much of the wreckage still remains. A plaque now sits next to the tangled metal, commemorating the loss of life that took place, and it can be visited via a 3.5 mile moderate-to-strenuous hike to what locals call "TWA Canyon." Or, for the less actively inclined, the wreck can be seen from the Sandia Peak Tramway cable car, which travels directly above the site.