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American Tourist Dies in Silfra

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American Tourist Dies in Silfra

Silfra in Þingvellir

Silfra. Photo: Sverrir H. Geirmundsson.

From now on, the number of people allowed to dive in Silfra fissure, Þingvellir National Park, will only be a fraction of what it used to be, following a fatal accident there on Friday, last week, RÚV reports. Tourists allowed to dive there could drop in number by 70 percent, according to spokesmen for the two companies selling access to the site. Silfra was closed following Friday’s accident, but reopened today.

An American male in his sixties died after snorkeling in the fissure on Friday. He was brought to shore unconscious and transported by helicopter to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A month ago, another American male in his sixties lost his life there, snorkeling.

At least ten diving accidents have occurred in Silfra in the past seven years, including five fatalities.

New and stricter rules have been adopted regarding diving at the site. Those planning to dive will have to have a so-called dry suit certification, and the number of people assigned to a guide will be reduced from four to three. Those who do not hold a dry suit certification will be offered to go snorkeling instead of diving.

Wet suits will be forbidden. Each guide for those planning to snorkel will be assigned a group of no more than six, instead of eight, people.

Everyone visiting Silfra will be required to fill out and sign a form, detailing health conditions and swimming ability. Those unable to swim or suffering from health problems, physical or mental, will be barred access. The companies operating in Silfra will be responsible for following the rules. Penalties for violation of the rules and methods of monitoring are still being determined.

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