One man is dead after he was caught in an avalanche on Esja mountain, near Reykjavík, on Saturday, RÚV reports. The emergency phone line requested the assistance of rescue workers once the avalanche was reported at 5 pm.
Three men were caught in the avalanche, which hit a well known hiking trail at an elevation of 600 m (2,000 ft) in Grafardalur valley. Two of the men were able to get out on their own and call 112, but the third one was missing.
Shortly thereafter, an extensive search was launched, in which 130-140 rescue workers participated. Dogs were used in the search, as well as snowmobiles. The two survivors were transported by the Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter to hospital.
Two avalanches had fallen, which complicated the search, and darkness fell shortly after rescue workers arrived. The body of the third man was found around 8 pm with the help of a search dog.
The name of the deceased has not been released. His family thanks all who helped in the search.
Jónas Guðmundsson, who directed the search effort, stated that avalanches in Esja mountain are more common than most people realize. He warned hikers to take utmost care when they venture outside the most common trail, and stressed the importance of being equipped with helmets, axes, spikes and climbing ropes.