Happy End: A Photographer Captures Forgotten Plane Crash Sites of Survival

article-image1950 plane crash in Canada (all photographs by Dietmar Eckell)

German photographer Dietmar Eckell has long been drawn to abandoned locations around the world, from former Olympics sites to forgotten technology to empty billboards, and his latest project is centered on plane crash sites. Called Happy End, it centers on decayed hulks of aviation in remote locales from the Arctic Circle to Papua New Guinea, all where each and every passenger hurtled from the skies survived. Eckell is currently having an Indiegogo campaign to turn the images into a book. 

There's a haunting quiet to all of Eckell's photography that belies the extreme effort he goes to in order to find his subjects, left to isolated decay for 10 to 70 years. Most of the plane crash sites he tracked down on Google Maps and through interviewing local pilots, and in one of the most intense trips he went to the rebel-controlled Western Sahara and convinced a local leader to take him across the country to a spot he only knew as a location on Google Earth.

The Happy End title refers directly to there being no fatalities, but he also sees it as "happy end" for the planes themselves. They've found a place to "rest in peace" out in the remoteness of our planet rather than be scrapped.

Eckell shared some of the Happy End photographs with Atlas Obscura:

1994 plane crash in the Western Sahara

2004 plane crash in Mexico

1993 plane crash in Australia

1943 plane crash in Papua New Guinea 

1965 plane crash in Alaska

1956 plane crash in Canada

article-image1956 plane crash in Canada

1979 plane crash in Canada

1977 plane crash in Canada

1973 plane crash in Iceland

1948 plane crash in Hawaii 

Dietmar Eckell's Indiegogo campaign for "Happy End" runs through June 2. Click here to donate online.

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