Eerie plane wrecks contain forgotten stories of survival
by Matt Nighswander / / Updated
Grumman Albatross near Puerto Escondido, Mexico. According to local news reports, the plane was suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and was forced to land in 2004 when it was intercepted by two government planes. All aboard survived. It is unclear whether the occupants of the plane were found to be involved in the drug trade.
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At first glance, "Happy End" may not seem like the most natural title for pictures of wrecked planes in forbidding landscapes, but German photographer Dietmar Eckell has a very positive outlook on what these photos represent. As described by Eckell, these pictures document 'miracles' in aviation history: forced landings where everyone on board survived and was rescued from the remote locations. Where some might see technological failure, Eckell sees these images as testament to the ingenuity and skill of the pilots, "heroes" who managed to narrowly avert disaster.
In the last few years Eckell has traveled to 15 abandoned planes on four continents, from Papua New Guinea to the Arctic Circle. The sites are from 10-70 years old and some of the planes seem almost to be melting into the landscape or slowly consumed by the surrounding vegetation.
After a successful online crowdfunding campaign, Eckell has published "Happy End," a 53-image volume of the planes. For more information about the book click here.