On Wednesday this week, a tour bus carrying 46 people collided with a passenger vehicle in South Iceland, resulting in one dead and nine seriously injured. The accident happened on the ring road near Kirkjubæjarklaustur, when the bus slid off the icy road and overturned.
One Chinese woman in her 20s died on the scene, while two people were thrown out of the bus and pinned underneath, Vísir reports. They were later freed by the rescue team. Helicopters have carried the injured to the National University Hospital in Reykjavík, where several of them are still in critical condition.
The tour bus was carrying 44 Chinese tourists, as well as an Icelandic driver and a tour guide. It was driving behind a passenger vehicle that suddenly slowed down and drove off the road into a parking lot. The two Lithuanian travelers in the vehicle reportedly slowed down for a scenic stop, according to Vísir. They are both unharmed.
The bus had seat belts for every passenger, but no one was wearing them at the time of the accident. The road was icy, and the accident questions whether or not winter service on that part of the Ring Road is sufficient. Because of budget constraints, the Icelandic Road and Coastal Authority is not able to de-ice the road east of Vík as frequently as elsewhere.
In the winter season there are still a lot of tourists driving from Vík to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in Vatnajökull national park. However, the traffic is not heavy enough to qualify for the highest priority road service, Vísir reports.
Björn Ragnarsson, CEO of Reykjavík Excursions, commented on the situation: “We need to go to our tourism industry to review our security. What can we do better in security? And how can we deal with matters differently?”