Three Died in South Coast Car Accident

fatal accident Iceland

Three died this morning after a car drove off the bridge over Núpsvötn on the south coast, RÚV reports. There were seven passengers in the car, all British citizens, and at least three of the survivors are seriously injured.

An emergency call at 9.42 this morning alerted the police that a car had driven off the bridge on route 1, through the road rails and onto the riverbank. According to Sveinn Kristján Rúnarsson, captain of the Hvolsvöllur police department, it’s not known what caused the accident but it’s possible that ice could have formed on the bridge as temperatures hovered around 0°C. He confirmed that among the dead was one child and that the four people who were moved to the hospital were conscious.

Sveinn Rúnar is hopeful that the road will be opened again between three and four pm.

 

The Icelanders Nominated for Person of the Year

Lilja Alfreðsdóttir is one of the people nominated for Person of the Year.

Online newspaper Vísir and radio station Bylgjan organise a yearly vote in Iceland for person of the year. Each December, readers and listeners are invited to nominate people online and by phone who they believe deserve the title for their achievements during the year. This month, nearly 7,000 nominations were received. Vísir and Bylgjan have gone over the nominations and created a shortlist on ten individuals, listed below.

A winner, chosen by public vote throughout the end of the month, will be announced on December 31.

Shortlist for Person of the Year

Kári Stefánsson

The CEO of deCODE genetics launched a website where Icelanders can find out whether they carry a genetic mutation in the genome BRCA2 which makes them more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. deCODE also funded the purchase and installation of Iceland’s first PET scanner, now in use at the National University Hospital.

Benedikt Erlingsson

The director of Woman at War, which swept up at award ceremonies around the world, has used his new-found publicity to speak out about combating climate change. Woman at War was awarded the Nordic Council Film Prize and the European Parliament’s LUX Prize this year, among several other wins and nominations.

Guðmundur Fylkisson

The police officer and chief inspector handles missing children cases on behalf of the Government Agency for Child Protection. Every year some 80-90 children go missing in Iceland; one 12-year-old went missing 20 times.

Lilja Alfreðsdóttir

The Minister of Education and Culture showed courage when describing the crude and now-infamous conversation of MPs recorded at Klaustur Bar as “violence.” The MPs were abusers who should not be given power within Icelandic society, Lilja stated sincerely in an interview on evening program Kastljós.

Bára Halldórsdóttir

The anonymous whistle-blower responsible for recording the sexist, ableist, and homophobic conversation of six MPs at a Reykjavík bar and sending it to media eventually came forward, revealing herself to be a queer, disabled woman. Bára could face a lawsuit at the hands of the MPs for her actions.

Einar Hansberg Árnason

The athlete rowed 500km (310mi) in 50 hours on a rowing machine at Crossfit Reykjavík to raise funds for Kristín Sif Björgvinsdóttir and her family, and raise awareness of suicide among young men. Kristín Sif’s husband took his own life earlier that year.

Elísabet Margeirsdóttir

The long-distance runner became the first woman to complete the 400km (248mi) Ultra Gobi Race in China’s Gobi Desert in under 100 hours. She placed seventh in the race overall.

Guðmundur Ragnar Magnússon

The Icelandic Coast Guart sailor saved 15 people from the ship Fjordvik which stranded in Helguvík in November. Guðmundur broke two ribs in the process, but continued the operation until all of the ship’s passengers had reached safety, and was the last man off board.

Guðrún Björt Yngvadóttir

The biomedical scientist was elected international president of Lions Clubs International, making her the first woman to serve in the post in the organisation’s 101-year history.

Bára Tómasdóttir

The mother of Einar Darri Óskarsson, who died in May from an overdose of sedatives, started the “I have only one life” movement in memory of her son. The movement aims to raise awareness of the dangers of drug use among youth.

Seedlings and Fireworks to Fund Search-And-Rescue Teams

New Year's Eve Fireworks in Reykjavík, 2017.

Seedlings will be for sale alongside fireworks at the annual Search-and-Rescue team fireworks sale this year, to be planted next summer, RÚV reports. The project is intended as an answer for people who want to donate money to the ICE-SAR volunteers but don’t want to buy fireworks. The money raised by selling fireworks is one of the most important fundraising projects of the year for the ICE-SAR teams but increased awareness about airborne particle pollution has turned many off the idea of fireworks.

Jón Svanberg Hjartarson, CEO of Landsbjörg, states that the SAR teams count on the fireworks sale to raise funds. He told Morgunútvarpið radio hosts that every year, there are people who buy fireworks to donate to the Search-and-rescue teams but don’t take the fireworks home. Now, those who want to skip the fireworks can donate to the teams by funding a seedling to be planted in a grove outside Þorlákshöfn next summer. According to mbl.is, the idea came from Rakel Kristinsdóttir, who wrote her bachelor’s thesis on ICE-SAR funding. ICE-SAR also try to source fireworks that are less polluting and points out that a few years ago changes were made to how fireworks are made and the most dangerous chemicals were removed from the process.

Last New Year’s Eve, airborne particle pollution was high. Numerous lung patients seek care at the emergency room and health centres around the new year presenting symptoms related to airborne particle pollution. According to a letter from three experts to the Icelandic Medical Journal, doctors notice more severe symptoms in lung patients in January than in other months.  This is despite the fact that most lung patients take care to stay inside around the New Year. The pollution can get so severe that even healthy people experience symptoms in their respiratory systems.