Árni Þorsteinsson from Neskaupstaður, East Iceland, was awarded as the region’s Person of the Year on Saturday, after being named by the readers of news site Austurfrétt. Árni survived the avalanche that hit the town in 1974 after being buried in snow for 20 hours.
Árni’s story, and that of other avalanche survivors, was published as part of the Útkall book series by Óttar Sveinsson in 2012, which is why his feat was recognized so many years after the natural disaster.
“I’d like to dedicate the award to all of those mentioned in the book and who told their stories. I feel that they should share this award with me. I’d also like to thank Óttar Sveinsson, the book’s author, for professional work methods. It’s of great value to have all these stories compiled in one publication,” Árni said.
When the avalanche hit in December 1974, Árni was working at the freezing plant of Síldarvinnslan. He landed in a small well under a piece of a wall and five meters of snow and wasn’t rescued until 20 hours later.
Árni has told his story before, to a French radio station, among other media. However, many of the accounts in <i>Útkall<p> have never been recorded before.
Árni received a certificate from Austurfrétt and a gift certificate from Gistihúsið in Egilsstaðir for dinner for two.