Dispute Over Snowmobile Tour Mishap - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Dispute Over Snowmobile Tour Mishap

Published January 9, 2017

Photos by
Anna Andersen

A snowmobile tour that resulted in an Australian couple getting lost and requiring a lengthy search has been the focus of dispute between the tour company and the couple in question; namely, regarding who was ultimately at fault.

The incident began last Thursday, RÚV reports, when David and Gail Wilson of Australia took part in a snowmobile tour of Langjökull glacier with the company Mountaineers of Iceland. The tour was allowed to go forward, despite the fact that the Icelandic Met Office had forecast a storm in the area later that day.

Invariably, a storm did descend upon the tour group, and the couple became separated from the group. 180 rescue workers were dispatched, and they were found some seven hours later. In the wake of their rescue, a dispute has arisen between the couple and one of the owners of Mountaineers of Iceland over who is at fault.

The couple told reporters that they were never told that, in the event of being lost, they should leave the snowmobile running so rescue workers can see its lights. They also said there should have been no tour in the first place, with the weather forecast being what it was. In addition, they said they were told that, in the event of being separated from the group, one should remain where they are and a guide would come to retrieve them in about ten minutes. In the end, the couple remained at the same spot for two and a half hours without anyone arriving on the scene.

Herbert Hauksson, one of the owners of the company, told RÚV that while he understands the anger the couple feels for having to wait so long in the cold, he himself could find no fault with his company; the couple themselves were responsible for things getting out of hand. He also contended that no storm had been forecast in the area that day, but in point of fact that Icelandic Met Office had predicted high winds, rain and sleet in the mid-Highlands area.

Herbert nonetheless said that the company will be reviewing its standard of operations in the wake of the incident, and is supposed to be meeting with David and Gail today.


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