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Drone pilot melts his machine for stunning volcano video

A drone pilot recently captured some extraordinary footage looking directly down into an erupting volcano in Iceland. But photographer Garðar Ólafs flew his machine so close to the heat and spewing lava that after guiding his drone home, he noticed that part of it had melted.

The video (below) features some of the most impressive footage (and audio!) of an eruption we’ve seen yet, this one taking place near a flat-topped mountain named Fagradalsfjall, about 15 miles south-west of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.

Ólafs was lucky not to lose his DJI drone altogether, but the footage he came away with made the risky flight worth it.

“I was flying my drone around the eruption and decided it would be cool to see it from straight above,” Ólafs told PetaPixel. “I slowly lowered the drone until all I could see was erupting lava, and when I looked up, I didn’t see the drone anymore. Basically, I was inside the crater of the volcano.”

Realizing the drone might not last much longer if he left it in position, Ólafs hastily flew it out of danger and back to its launch point.

Inspecting the machine following the flight, the Iceland resident, who sells his drone images and footage via his own stock site, said the heat from the volcano melted the light on the underside of the drone and also damaged its obstacle-avoidance sensors (we’re thinking that as he flew his drone toward a raging volcano, he doesn’t care much for those sensors anyway).

While the machine still flies, it no longer functions quite as it should, with a number of error messages now appearing during flights.

Ólafs, who lives close to the volcano in the region of Reykjanes, felt compelled to fly his drone over the eruption to capture some dramatic imagery of the extraordinary natural wonder.

“It’s a special feeling having an erupting volcano 15 minutes from my home,” Ólafs wrote in a message on his Instagram account.

He added: “Reykjanes has always been an underestimated part of Iceland, but today it’s probably the most known part, funny how things can change in one night.”

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Trevor Mogg
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