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This Guy Flew a Drone Into a Volcano Crater and It Shot Its Own Demise


Drone photographer Bjorn Steinbekk recently flew a camera drone directly into the active crater of a volcano. The drone managed to capture this remarkable ultra-close-up footage that shows it melting above spewing lava before it finally succumbed to the intense heat.

Steinbekk is based in Reykjavik, Iceland, and got into professional drone photography and videography a few years ago after needing drone footage, buying a drone, and then experimenting with it.

When the volcanic eruption at Geldingadal, Iceland, began in mid-March 2021, Steinbekk (along with countless photographers from around the world) visited the location to document it himself, and he spent roughly 6 weeks focused on capturing the volcano.

On April 27th, at the conclusion of his endeavor, Steinbekk started broadcasting a 14-hour live drone stream to the world for anyone interested in a virtual visit.

“It was my way of closing a chapter that has consumed my life last 6 weeks or so,” Steinbekk wrote. “It’s hard to describe in words, but I have actually been very emotional this morning, crying and sad but also so thankful for this experience and being able to share it with you.

“I realized last night when I took a walk down to say goodbye to this magnificent phenomenon that you can fall in love with a volcano.”

What he also realized as he was wrapping up was that his drone had suffered some serious heat damage over the course of the stream. Instead of sinking money into repairing a drone that likely couldn’t be fixed, Steinbekk came up with an idea for using it for one last hurrah.

“I decided then, as a grand finale to fly the drone into the crater in a live feed and record the flight,” Steinbekk tells PetaPixel.

Steinbekk flew the drone into the crater and had it hover while shooting intense footage amid lava that was being ejected high into the air. The drone kept beaming footage as it started clearly melting in the frame.

A still frame showing the last thing the drone saw before its demise. Video by Bjorn Steinbekk.

“What stands out for me is how long the drone, a Mavic 2 Pro, was able to hover inside the crater and keep signal streaming. The heat was more than 1,200 degrees Celsius [2192° F] and that I was able to tilt the gimbal down and record is even more stunning.”

“[T]his [drone] due to high heat was almost toast so I was able to get it in the air and rest is history,” Steinbekk Tweets. “Would never do that with [a] perfectly ok drone!”

Photographer Garðar Ólafs also melted his DJI drone over the Geldingadalir volcano recently, but his was only partially damaged and was able to make it out alive.

You can find more of Steinbekk’s work on his website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.