Search and rescue personnel in the southern West Fjords were mobilized around 4 pm yesterday due to a traveler in distress west of Rauðisandur beach. The Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter taking part in another operation in the area was summoned for assistance. The hiker was found with the help of his phone’s GPS and airlifted to safety in Patreksfjörður, RÚV reports.
The man was hiking on steep cliffs located between Rauðisandur beach and Keflavík bay. West of Keflavík are the cliffs at Látrabjarg, famous for being Iceland’s westernmost point as well as being populated with close to 50 species of birds. The mountains in this area of the West Fjords are known for being rather steep and challenging to climb for those unaccustomed to such terrain.
Yesterday evening, a crew of over 50 search and rescue personnel were summoned to the Fimmvörðuháls hiking trail, located between the two glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull in southern Iceland, in order to search for two French hikers who were feared missing. According to RÚV, the couple had followed recommended protocol and left a travel plan with Safe Travel, an initiative of the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue, outlining their intentions to reach a cabin at Básar in the Þórsmörk nature reserve on July 30.
Search efforts began as it was discovered that the couple had not checked in at the cabin as planned. The search continued until Tuesday morning, when the couple was found safe and sound at a different cabin than the one they had initially planned to stay at. They had not notified search and rescue that their hike was indeed progressing safely.