Photos: Remains of planes called 'miracles'

Updated 2254 GMT (0654 HKT) May 2, 2013
01 airplane crash01 airplane crash
1 of 13
Dietmar Eckell's bid to photograph what he calls "miracles in aviation history" -- airplanes that were forced down without loss of life -- has taken him from African deserts to Papua New Guinean swamps, like this photo.

"In Papua New Guinea, hiking to the plane was like a time travel -- you pass villages where nothing has changed in the 70 years since the plane landed," says Eckell. "No electricity, running water, and they still go fishing in the dug-out canoes." The B-24D Liberator, an American heavy bomber, has rested in this swamp since 1943, during World War II.
courtesy dietmar eckell
A Cessna 310Q in repose in western Australia. Eckell wants to self-publish a coffee table book about the airplanes and has a fund-raising page. He calls his online gallery "Happy End."

"Our perception 'automatically' thinks of a disaster until we learn that all survived and were rescued from the remote location," Eckell tells CNN. The photographer, who operates out of Dusseldorf, Germany, and Bangkok, Thailand, shot these photos from August 2010 to March 2013.
courtesy dietmar eckell
A Vought F4U Corsair ended up in Hawaiian waters a few years after World War II ended. The bent-wing Corsair was a fighter-bomber that saw service on aircraft carriers. Even in their death, Eckell finds the airplanes to be beautiful, still majestic while lost in nature's vastness. courtesy dietmar eckell
The fuselage of a Douglas C-47 is covered in dust in a vast Icelandic landscape. Taking such photographs sometimes requires inconvenience. "You have to be willing to spend long hours traveling with very little comfort," says Eckell. "Like hike with all your gear for a few days and wait for days if no local transport is available."

The German photographer has encountered polar bears and snakes while making his way to remote areas to find abandoned remains.
courtesy dietmar eckell
A twin-engine Fairchild C-82 Packet, which carried cargo, was lost in Alaska in 1965. courtesy dietmar eckell
The photographer uses the Internet, forums, archives and Google Earth to find the aircraft. "Once in the area, I ask local pilots for information on the story and location," says Eckell. Here a Grumman HU-16 Albatross wing rests in the surf on Mexico's Pacific Coast. It wrecked in 2004. courtesy dietmar eckell
This Douglass C-46, was lost in 1977 in Manitoba. On one of his websites, Eckell says pilots who got crew members through harrowing situations are heroes. courtesy dietmar eckell
A Douglas C-47 rests on a rocky field in Canada's Yukon territory. The aircraft went down in 1950. Most of the airplanes he photographed made forced landings because of engine failure, Eckell says. In some cases, there were injuries. courtesy dietmar eckell
A Cessna T-50 "Bamboo Bomber" has been in Alaska since the 1960s. The five-seat aircraft was used for training and transport. courtesy dietmar eckell
An Avro Shackleton, a British-made maritime patrol aircraft, is swallowed by the sand in Western Sahara. A local rebel group helped Eckell reach the site from Mauritania. "We had to go cross-country, as the military would stop us on the gravel roads -- a different kind of thrill." courtesy dietmar eckell
Eckell says he is more concerned with a plane's juxtaposition with nature than its actual condition. The wing of a Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar slices the Alaskan wilderness, where it has rested since 1981. courtesy dietmar eckell
This Curtiss C-46 Commando, a transport aircraft, went down in Manitoba, Canada, nearly 35 years ago. In a wreckage search, proper orientation is a must, says Eckell. "You should know exactly where you want to go; in thick bush even the smallest mistake can get you lost." courtesy dietmar eckell
A Bristol 170 Freighter, lost in 1956, appears to take a drink of water in Canada's Northwest Territories. Eckell's other photographic work of "abandoned objects" includes Cold War relics, overgrown adventure parks and Olympic sites. courtesy dietmar eckell