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Photos to Die for on Reynisfjara Beach

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Photos to Die for on Reynisfjara Beach

Reynisfjara beach.

From one of Þórdís' videos. Photo: Screenshot from Þórdís Pétursdóttir's video.

Despite a new warning sign on Reynisfjara beach in South Iceland, tourists keep risking their lives for a good picture.

Þórdís Pétursdóttir shared two videos on Facebook, showing incidents from last week, where tourists are a hair’s breadth away from being caught by deadly waves.

Þórdís, a student of tourism studies at the University of Iceland, spent last week in South Iceland, working on her final project, focusing on tourist safety on Reynisfjara beach, Vísir reports.

She and a fellow student, Sigurlaug Rúnarsdóttir, spent five days in the area, four of which were on the beach. They interviewed tourists to find out their perception and knowledge of Reynisfjara.

The risks tourists were willing to take surprised Þórdís. “We didn’t realize how large a role photographing plays in tourists’ experience.” She added, “Many climbed high up the columnar basalt, or turned their back toward the waves to get a good picture of the ocean and the basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. Besides, it was interesting to see how the people experienced the excitement. They wanted to touch the ocean and run toward the highest waves.”

Þórdís decided to share the video, because she was appalled by the risk-taking. “During the four days we spent on Reynisfjara beach, we witnessed all sorts of tourist behavior. They put themselves, their loved ones, and sometimes children, at risk to get the perfect picture. Despite the new signs, something is clearly not getting through, as you see in the video,” she lamented.

Two fatal accidents have occurred on the beach. A US woman died in May of 2007 when caught by a wave, and a Chinese man lost his life when he was swept out to sea in February. In addition, there have been many close calls, when tourists have ventured too close to the waves.

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