From Iceland — Another Tourist Dies At Reynisfjara, Prompting Calls For Closure

Another Tourist Dies At Reynisfjara, Prompting Calls For Closure

Published June 13, 2022

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Officials are considering closing Reynisfjara after a tourist was swept out to sea and died there on Friday.

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The man who died was part of a larger tour group visiting the popular black sand beach on Iceland’s south coast. His wife was struck by the same wave but was rescued by people standing close to her, reports RÚV.

Rescue teams from the South and Westman Islands, along with the Coast Guard’s helicopter squadron, responded to the accident but faced heavy winds that made the operation difficult. The man was pulled out of the water after about an hour but was already dead. Police are investigating the accident, according to a statement. The Icelandic Red Cross is providing support for people in the tour group.

The sand on the shore has formed a steep bank at the basalt cave, a common stop for tourists. The surf then breaks on the corner of the supporting rock where many people sit, pulling them into the ocean, reports RÚV.

“Naturally, all such accidents are terrible and, of course, every effort must be made to prevent them. As for this place, the markings are detailed. Everyone who comes there is warned of the dangers that lie there. And in this case, there was a tour guide there who urged people to be careful. So it seems that everything has been done to warn people of the dangers that were there, but it still happens,” says tourism director Skarphéðinn Berg Steinarsson.

The Minister’s working group is considering a closure

The Minister of Tourism appointed a working group to improve the safety of tourists in the region. Skarphéðinn says that the group will look at whether it is possible to close the beach when it is most dangerous.

“It seems that there is legal authority to close dangerous places. But it’s a shame to be using it a lot. Iceland is not a safe destination. And as with Reynisfjörður, is it possible to close that place out of this? I think it is something we should not do but do better in prevention and trying to prevent accidents,” says Skarphéðinn.


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