A 55-year-old man, who was reported missing after traveling to see the eruption in the southern highlands on Sunday evening, was found dead last night. The body of a 43-year-old woman, one of his traveling companions, had already been found.
The car was found empty north of Mýrdalsjökull glacier on route F210.
The third missing tourist, a 33-year old woman, was found alive. She was cold and exhausted but otherwise in good health and has been discharged from hospital, Morgunbladid and Fréttabladid report.
The people drove towards the eruption zone on the Fimmvörduháls mountain pass in a Honda CRV SUV through Fljótshlíd on Sunday evening and are believed to have been on their way home when they got lost.
Around 1 am on Sunday night the driver requested assistance from search and rescue. At that point they were probably located in the mire by the Tröllagjá rift, near the Gilsá river, on route F261.
Police and search and rescue crews searched the area for five hours but didn’t find any trace of the missing tourists. The people were in constant telephone connection with the police.
At 6:30 am the man reported that his car, which had been stuck, had now been freed and that he had found a trail, which he thought would lead them back into Fljótshlíd. Instead, it seems to have lead them further into the highlands.
Around 2 am on Monday night the people’s relatives contacted the police again because they hadn’t heard anything from the travelers and were concerned that they might still be lost.
An extensive search was launched. At one point as many as 270 people participated in the search and a Coast Guard helicopter was called out.
The helicopter was used to transport the woman who was found first to hospital in Reykjavík and to transport the body of the other woman.
After 5 pm the flying conditions worsened, so the helicopter could no longer participate in the search.
From then on the search continued in cars and ski-doos, on foot and on telemark skis. Search dogs were also used. The search area is a lava field, which is very difficult to cross.
In the early afternoon yesterday, the 33-year-old woman was found walking on the Emstruleid route, F210, near Mt. Einhyrningur. Later in the afternoon, the car was found empty and out of gas, nine kilometers away from where they woman was found.
The body of the 43-year-old woman was found in a 700-meter distance from the car. Search continued for the man, whose body was found around 9:30 pm, five kilometers away from the car.
According to Fréttabladid, when the travelers had driven more than 30 kilometers to the northeast, towards Emstrur, the car ran out of gas. People familiar with the area say it is unbelievable that they made it that far in an SUV.
There is no telephone network in the area, the people were not equipped for walking outside in winter highland conditions and they had hardly any supplies.
Around mid-day on Monday the man decided to seek help on foot. The women left the car one by one yesterday morning.
The identities of the deceased have not been revealed but they were both Icelandic, as is the woman who survived the ordeal.
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