American photographer Robert Landsburg while filming Mount St. Helens volcano eruption in 1980 realized that he wouldn’t survive it, so he rewound the film back into its case, put his camera in his backpack, and then lay himself on top of the backpack to protect the film for future researchers.Previous Fact Next Fact
Robert Emerson Landsburg was an American photographer who was killed while photographing the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Landsburg was born in Seattle, Washington, and lived in Portland, Oregon, at the time of the eruption. In the weeks leading up to the eruption, Landsburg visited the area many times in order to photographically document the changing volcano. On the morning of May 18, he was within a few miles of the summit. When the mountain exploded, Landsburg took photos of the rapidly approaching ash cloud. He then rewound the film back into its case, put his camera in his backpack, and then laid himself on top of the backpack in an attempt to protect its contents. Seventeen days later, Landsburg's body was found buried in the ash with his backpack underneath.
The film was developed and has provided geologists with valuable documentation of the historic eruption.