A British tourist who was injured during a visit to the South Iceland beach of Reynisfjara has successfully won a lawsuit against the tour company which took her there, in a ruling dated November 13th in Reykjavík District Court.
The incident in question occurred in 2014, when she was on a tour of South Iceland on a bus with the company Sterna Travel. While the original plan was to go to the Sólheimajökull glacier, bad weather kiboshed those plans, and so the bus drove straight to Reynisfjara instead, where tourists were encouraged to get off the bus and have a look around.
The woman who filed the suit was amongst those who did so, but was thrown to the ground by high winds, injuring her shoulder. She has struggled with problems with her shoulder since then.
She contends that it was irresponsible for the tour bus operator to encourage passengers to get off the bus and walk around in the area, showing the weather readings for that day put wind speeds at up to 40 metres per second. Sterna Travel, for their part, contended that it could not be proven that the woman was injured by the wind, and that the driver advised passengers not to go near beach. They further argued that there were no storm conditions in the area.
However, Reykjavík District Court took into account witness testimony from the scene, confirming that the woman was injured by being thrown to the ground by the wind. They also ruled that it was unproven that those on the bus were clearly warned not to go down to the beach, even though the court also believed that the woman should have recognised the weather was too foul to venture out into.
As such, the court ruled that Sterna Travel pay for half of the damages she endured on that day, and to also pay 500,000 ISK to cover her legal expenses.
Reynisfjara is certainly beautiful, but it can also be a dangerous place, most of all for its sneaker waves and powerful undertow. If you do visit Reynisfjara, stay on the main beach and as far from the surf as you can be.
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