Mountaineers of Iceland Admits Mistake

Mountaineers of Iceland

The tour company responsible for stranding 39 tourists in a storm by Langjökull glacier on January 7 admits that they made at least one mistake that contributed to the situation, RÚV reports. Nearly 200 search and rescue volunteers were needed to rescue the group of snowmobilers, some of whom spent more than seven hours out in the storm.

Haukur Herbertsson, Mountaineers of Iceland’s Director of Operations, says the company cancelled all other trips that day due to an oncoming storm. The trip in question, however, was expected to finish before bad weather hit, but the group was delayed by the decision to visit an ice cave. “We clearly made a mistake by going into the ice cave,” Haukur told reporters yesterday. “It’s possible we made other mistakes. At this point, I don’t know what they all are.”

Delayed calling search and rescue

When the group became stuck, the company first attempted a rescue using their own vehicles, which broke down on the way to the group. Search and rescue teams were only then called for assistance. When asked whether the company should have contacted search and rescue earlier, Haukur answered “Yes, in hindsight. As soon as we realised that the snowcat was having issues we should have called search and rescue.”

Minister calls for explanation

Minister of Tourism Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir says Mountaineers of Iceland’s spokespeople have not explained sufficiently enough why the trip had not been cancelled. “The company needs to explain in more detail why this decision was made. Icelandic tourism depends entirely on ensuring the safety of tourists who come here,” Þórdís stated, adding that the incident could damage the reputation of Iceland’s tourism industry.

Second such incident for Mountaineers

This is not the first snowmobiling trip to end poorly for Mountaineers of Iceland. In January of 2017, an Australian couple got separated from their group during one of the company’s tours on Langjökull glacier. They were rescued some seven hours later thanks to 180 search and rescue volunteers. The company was eventually ordered to financially compensate the pair.

Haukur has stated that the company will review its safety protocols following the incident.

Icelanders Knit for Australian Animals

Icelanders knit for Australia

Close to 100 people got together yesterday evening at Reykjavík’s KEX Hostel to knit pouches for Australian animals orphaned in the fires ravaging the country. The idea for the event came from Australian Erin Jade Turner who has been staying in Iceland since mid-December.

Erin joined forces with Icelander Pétur Oddbergur Heimisson, who hosts a regular knitting event at KEX, to organise the event. “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Icelandic people and are so thankful for the talented knitters contributing to this project,” Erin stated. “Approximately 40 knitted, sewn and crocheted items were received last night alone and we expect to receive many more in the coming weeks.”

The widespread fires have heavily impacted both animals and humans in Australia. “The day I flew out of Sydney I was wearing a mask, cause the smoke in Sydney basin was so thick and so heavy and it was raining ash,” Erin stated in an interview for Stöð 2. “We know friends and family who have been caught up in it, who have been impacted by the fires. It’s hard not to know someone who hasn’t been impacted by it.”

Knitters who would like to participate in the drive are invited to drop off their knitted pouches at KEX Hostel on February 3 between 10.00am and 8.00pm. Approved patterns and details are provided on the cause’s Facebook page.

Icelandic Cows Escape for Night-Time Adventure

cows escape

A herd of cows at Hvanneyri farm managed to open the door to their cowshed earlier this week, slipping out for a night-time romp in the snow. As the weather worsened, the herd returned to the shed, where they were found the morning after safe and sound. Hoofprints and tracking devices painted a clear picture of the night’s rowdy activities.

“The approach to the cowshed was somewhat amusing yesterday morning,” a Facebook post on the Hvanneyri Farm Facebook page begins. “By the entrance there were many traces of cattle traffic, but outside no cattle were to be seen. Inside the cowshed all was calm, the cows either lay in their stalls or ate hay at their leisure. All was as it should be, except for one thing, the door through which the cows go out during the summer was wide open and snow had blown in.”

“The cows went out early this year,” the post continues. “They had somehow unbelievably managed to unlock the door and lift the door up and had run out into the night.”

Evidence in the form of hoofprints showed that many cows had run gleefully in circles around the shed and other installations at the farm. “But the amazing thing about the cows’ adventure is that every single cow had returned before morning,” the post continues. As the night progressed, the weather worsened, and the cows didn’t ignore it, returning to the warmth and safety of their shed.

The cows all have tracking devices that alert their caretakers when any one animal is unusually active. “This morning there were over 50 cows with a notification on the computer, and on the movement chart it was clear that they had opened up at midnight and been out until about five or six in the morning. This has been quite an adventure for them, but luckily they all found their way in and no one was injured in the hullabaloo,” the post concluded.