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Photographer Garðar Ólafs — and founder of the Iceland-based stock agency Airstock — recently took his DJI drone to the skies above the erupting Geldingadalir volcano and may have gotten a little bit too close.
The Geldingadalir volcano which is currently erupting about 15 minutes from Ólafs’s home town of Reykjanes.
Ólafs tells PetaPixel that he was flying his drone around the eruption, capturing photos and videos, when he decided to try a shot looking straight down into the mouth of the fissure.
“I was flying my drone around the eruption and decided it would be cool to see it from straight above,” he says. “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.”
He says that when he realized how close to the lava he had gotten, he was surprised and hurried to get his drone out of danger.
“I was really surprised that the drone was still in the air since it was basically inside the crater,” he says.
When Ólafs flew his drone back to his takeoff location, he noticed that it did not emerge unscathed. The light under the drone was melted, and sensors were damaged from the extreme heat. He reports that the drone still works, but the vision sensor underneath no longer functions and gives constant errors during flights. It is likely that if he remained in that position for much longer or chose to fly closer, his drone would not have made it out.