Helgi Rúnar Halldórsson, cabin guard in Langidalur in Þórsmörk, in the southern highlands, saved 15 passengers from a small bus en-route to Þórsmörk, which was stuck in the river Steinholtsá, yesterday morning.
Helgi told ruv.is that he got a call about the bus around 10 am and drove to the river on his tractor. “I parked the tractor behind the bus. We opened the tailgate and made the people exit the bus that way, walk through the tractor and onto a pickup truck from the cabin in Húsadalur, which we brought along on the rescue mission.”
This is not the first time that Helgi has been called out. “It has been almost a daily event, to run out and save vehicles from circumstances like this… Steinholtsá and Krossá are the worst on this route.” Helgi then pulled the bus out of the river. Water had seeped into it and the people’s luggage had become wet.
These were French tourists, most of them between the ages 50 and 70. They weren’t particularly frightened, Helgi said, although they were visibly relieved upon leaving the bus. “I’ve seen considerably worse scenarios than this.”
Search and rescue squads from nearby communities and a Coast Guard helicopter were also called out. ICE-SAR said in a statement that the water level in rivers and streams on the route to Þórsmörk is rather high and so travelers should be careful when crossing them.