From Iceland — Authorities Appeal For Volcano Visitor Safety Awareness

Authorities Appeal For Volcano Visitor Safety Awareness

Published March 30, 2021

John Pearson
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Icelandic authorities yesterday called for visitors to the volcanic eruption site in Geldingadalur to be more aware of safety.

Local police reminded visitors to come equipped with crampons to walk on icy hiking trails, and officer Gunnar Schram told Vísir that they were seeing a lot of walking-related injuries such as twists, sprains and minor tumbles.

“It went well overall,” he said of Sunday’s operation, “but people are falling over and we are having to assist quite a bit.”

A more serious incident took place yesterday evening, when a Coast Guard helicopter had to rescue a woman. According to Fréttablaðið she had fallen close to the eruption site, and was in great pain. The helicopter was deployed as the casualty was very far from the road when she fell.

Steinar Þór Kristinsson, of the Icelandic search and rescue organisation, echoed Gunnar’s warning that visitors should come prepared for icy and mountainous walking conditions. But he also wants visitors to remember that we are currently in the grip of a pandemic.

“There were a lot of people on the slope yesterday,” Steinar said. “Visitors should remember to wear covid masks, and use alcohol on their hands before touching the ropes on the path. It is really difficult to think about infection control there, but that would help.”

On Sunday the road to the site was closed temporarily when the car park, which takes around 600 cars, became full.

“We learn more every day about how to improve traffic planning,” said Gunnar. “Thousands of people use the parking lots that were created with the cooperation of the landowners, and these facilities have had a great positive effect on the operation.”

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