Avalanche Survivor Speaks: “the Snow Was Like Concrete”

Flateyri avalanche

Alma Sóley Ericsdóttir Wolf, a fourteen-year-old resident of Flateyri in the Westfjords, became trapped in her home after a massive avalanche fell on the town Tuesday. In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Alma Sóley related her experience to reporter Sigríður Dögg Auðunsdóttir.

Like Concrete

“I heard rumbling for about two seconds and then the glass shattered, and I was buried in snow,” Alma Sóley said, describing the avalanche that descended upon her home in Flateyri, just before midnight on Tuesday, January 14. She was trapped inside her room for half an hour as snow flooded in through the window.

“It was like concrete. I felt as if I had been cast in a mould. I could only move about two centimetres. I could clench my fist and move my head a little, but I couldn’t try to break free or change position,” Alma Sóley said in an interview with Sigríður Dögg Auðunsdóttir, who spoke with Alma and her mother, Anna Sigríður Sigurðardóttir, in Ísafjörður yesterday.

Despite everything, Alma was convinced that someone would come to her rescue, worrying more about the fate of her family than about herself. She believes that she lost consciousness during the ordeal and is unable to recall the moment that rescuers found her. “I believe I passed out, although I had been conscious for about five or six minutes. I thought of my mother and my siblings because I thought that they were trapped in the snow, too. I hoped that they were okay. I expected someone to find me.”

Clung to Conviction

Alma’s mother, Anna Sigríður, was likewise convinced that her daughter would be rescued. “In reality, I was surprisingly unworried; I clung to some kind of conviction. I think maybe that the shock hasn’t manifested itself yet. We examined the house, and I’m quite certain that when I realise where I stood, for example, and where the avalanche fell, that I’ll begin to register the shock fully. At the same time, I’m extremely grateful for being alive and that everything turned out okay, given the circumstances.”

Alma and Anna expressed their gratitude for the aid of rescue volunteers. Alma looks forward to returning to school in Flateyri. “The rescue teams are digging up everything that they can salvage. And then I’d like to return to school.”

Below are a few photos of the aftermath of the avalanche, among them Alma Sóley’s house, courtesy of Lísa Kristjánsdóttir.

[media-credit name=”Lísa Kristjánsdóttir” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″]Avalanche[/media-credit]

[media-credit name=”Lísa Kristjánsdóttir” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″]Flateyri after avalanche[/media-credit]

[media-credit name=”Lísa Kristjánsdóttir” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″]Flateyri Avalanche[/media-credit]

Two Bodies Discovered on Sólheimasandur

Plane Wreck

The bodies of two Chinese tourists were discovered on Sólheimasandur in South Iceland yesterday, Vísir reports. One hundred fifty metres separated the bodies, which were found not far from the DC plane wreck.

150 metres apart

Police authorities in South Iceland received a report of the body of a young woman on Sólheimasandur, near the path to the DC plane wreck, at just past noon yesterday. At 2 pm, the body of a young man was discovered roughly 150 metres from the first body. The cause of their deaths remains unknown; the police are awaiting autopsy results.

Police believe that the pair were travelling together and that they may have died from exposure. A rental car was found at the Sólheimasandur parking lot. The vehicle had passed through Hvolsvöllur at just past 3 pm on Monday, January 13. The car’s windows were broken. Weather conditions on Monday were extreme.

An unusual discovery

In an interview with Vísir, Oddur Árnason, chief constable of the South Iceland Police, stated that the discovery was unusual; the pair was in their twenties, and their bodies were found 150 metres apart.

“It’s unusual to find two bodies in open country,” the constable stated.

According to Oddur, the police arrived on the scene immediately after being notified. It is believed that the pair died from exposure.

“We know that they passed traffic cameras on Hvolsvellir on Monday at around 3 pm and that on Monday and Tuesday the weather was egregious, which offers some clues. We don’t want to make assumptions, however.”

The Chinese Embassy has been notified of the discovery.

This article was updated at 11:08 am.