As the Grapevine suggested, the news that Dutch military consultancy firm ECA was offering the public free flights to see the volcano at Fimmvörðuháls turned out to be an April Fool’s prank.
The story as originally reported on Vísir said that ECA was looking to revamp its image in Iceland, and so was offering to take up to 250 people from Reykjavík airport to the volcano. It quoted the chairman of the Campaign Against Militarism as saying he was personally outraged, and that the operation was “an insult to Easter”. Vísir later revealed the story to be a prank.
April Fool’s Day in Iceland isn’t about just pulling any old trick on people – you have to make people go to a place in expectation of something that doesn’t actually exist. Traditionally, news outlets in Iceland will run a few fake news stories, usually in the vein of light, human interest stories, on 1 April. Public officials are quoted to give the story the weight of believability, and many are happy to play along with the joke.
Grapevine may or may not start taking part in this tradition.
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