Frozen Plane Wreckage

Wednesday, 4th March 2009 by

These buildings are what make up Molodyozhnaya, one of the original Soviet research stations in Antarctica, and the site of an unusually large number of plane crashes.

The research station was established way back in 1962 to study meteorology, and was the launch site of over 1000 sounding rockets. But after the Soviet collapse, Russia cut back their expenditure on Antarctica explorations and permanently closed the station.1

Just to the west of the station, we find our first crashed plane in the snow. This Aeroflot Il-14 was heading back to the USSR when the engine failed shortly after take-off, and the plane crashed, killing 4 of the 7 passengers.

Despite the crash site being very clearly visible, this didn't happen anytime recently. The image was taken in February 2006, but the crash itself occurred all the way back in 1979!

The cold weather has preserved the crashed plane, and the harsh conditions make any attempt to move it impossible.

Browsing around the area, we can spot another four planes, all seemingly crashed and abandoned. Perhaps this the real reason for closing the station - they kept losing too many planes!

Thanks to GEarthHacks.

  1. Russia have talked about resuming operations at Molodyozhnaya in "2007 or 2008" but so far nothing has happened. ↩︎