An American family was scolded by a park ranger yesterday after daring their teenage son to jump off a ledge into the freezing waters of Flosagjá rift at Þingvellir National Park, reports Vísir.
The young boy, between 14 and 15 years old, stripped and jumped off a ledge about 5-6 metres above the water. The water, which is approximately 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit) could have caused the boy to go instantly into cold shock response and die.
While his family whooped and laughed – not knowing how cold and dangerous the water in the rift was – the young boy struggled to land, and managed to crawl onto a rocky ledge.
“The parents sat here on a nearby ledge and thought the whole thing was hilarious,” said Einar Ásgeir Sæmundsson, a park ranger and communications official for Þingvellir National Park, who happened upon the family while walking near the Flosagjá rift. “The boy stood by the water in a great deal of shock and was frozen in every sense of the word, physically and emotionally. The parents really had no idea the danger he was in or how cold he must have been.”
“I had to talk to them quite sternly before they really grasped he was in jeopardy,” said Einar Ásgeir. “The boy was quaking down there while they screamed with laughter, egged him on and thought he was acting like a damn sissy.”
After realising the severity of the situation, the young boy’s older brother climbed down to rescue him. Einar Ásgeir told Vísir that after the incident the parents had left with sheepish and embarrassed faces.
“Then I just let them know that Iceland is a dangerous place,” said Einar Ásgeir. “For certain tourists at least.”
Many parts of Iceland are unsafe and it is best to exercise caution while travelling by yourself or with your family. Tourists and natives alike regularly get lost or caught out in dangerous situations. To ensure you get the most out of your trip to Iceland and avoid unnecessary jeopardy check out Safe Travel. Like many things in life, Icelandic nature is not always what is seems at first glance.