Landslide in South Iceland Nature Reserve, Tourists Injured

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Landslide in South Iceland Nature Reserve, Tourists Injured

Search and rescue squads in south Iceland were called out because of an accident on Dyrhólaey promontory, which is famous for its birdlife, when the edge of Lágey on which two foreign tourists were standing collapsed, creating a 100-meter wide landslide.

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From the scene of the accident. Photo by Grétar Einarsson from the search and rescue team Víkverji. Courtesy of ICE-SAR.

The couple was carried with the landslide, falling approximately 40 meters, landing in the cliffs and on the beach below, an ICE-SAR press release states.

The man broke his legs and the woman injured her spine, yet she was able to reach the ranger by foot. Luckily it was low tide so the man didn’t have to be hoisted up the cliff.

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The Landslide. Photo by Grétar Einarsson from Víkverji. Courtesy of ICE-SAR.

The search and rescue team Víkverji and ambulance workers were the first to arrive at the scene. A Coast Guard helicopter brought the tourists to hospital in Reykjavík where the man underwent surgery.

A physician on duty at the national hospital Landspítali told visir.is that the couple’s condition was incredibly good given the circumstances.

There were no indications of critical internal injuries or head trauma, Morgunblaðið added.

According to RÚV, what probably saved them was that they stayed on top of the landslide the entire time.

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The Coast Guard helicopter. Photo by Grétar Einarsson from Víkverji. Courtesy of ICE-SAR.

The couple had followed a marked walking path to the edge of Lágey. The path has now been closed and the Environment Agency of Iceland is looking into whether other parts of the reserve have to be closed as well.

In addition to local search and rescue squads and a Coast Guard helicopter, an ICE-SAR emergency vessel was sent to the scene from the Westman Islands, as well as mountaineers from the capital region.

However, after more detailed information had been received about the accident, some of the ICE-SAR members could return.

Click here to read about another recent accident in a bird cliff.

ESA