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Search and Rescue for Hiker and Hunters

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Search and Rescue for Hiker and Hunters

Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter

The Coast Guard's helicopter. Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

More than 80 volunteers from search and rescue associations in North Iceland and Reykjavík, along with the Coast Guard’s helicopter crew, took part in the rescue of a man who had become trapped in the steep mountainside of Gunnólfsvíkurfjall on Langanes peninsula, Northeast Iceland, yesterday afternoon.

A search and rescue team reached the man around 2:30 am. He had been searching for lost sheep when he became trapped on a ledge. Conditions were cold and wet but he had two dogs with him, which kept him warm, ruv.is reports.

The crew of the boat Geir ÞH 150 from Þórshöfn, the nearest town, sailed to the scene and lit up the mountainside with a searchlight to help the volunteers bring the farmer and his dogs down to the beach in the dark. A boat from Bakkafjörður was also called to the scene for the same purpose.

On Saturday morning, two men went hunting for ptarmigans on the southern Snæfellsnes peninsula, starting out at the farm Slitvindsstaðir in Staðarsveit. When they decided to return to the farm in the early afternoon, they couldn’t find their way back, mbl.is reports.

“We thought we were on the right way but then we arrived at a steep cliff and a high waterfall which we hadn’t seen before so we knew we were lost. We turned around but could only see unfamiliar landscape,” describes Valdimar Gunnar Sigurðsson, who was hunting for ptarmigans with his nephew Daði Rúnar Jónsson.

By then, night had fallen and Valdimar and his nephew decided to seek refuge under a boulder. They held each other to keep warm. Around 1 am they saw a Coast Guard helicopter but were unable to attract the crew’s attention.

Not until 10 am, at daybreak, could Valdimar and his nephew find mobile phone coverage and contact the emergency services, who were able to pinpoint their location. They were in the mountainside of Gráborg, above Hestdalir valleys, inland from Kolgrafafjörður fjord on the northern Snæfellsnes.

“We were absolutely exhausted, cold and wet. The search and rescue volunteers, these incredible heroes, gave us shelter, had dry and warm clothes with them and brought us to safety,” praises Valdimar. Around 80 volunteers participated in the operation.

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