Man Killed in Avalanche in North Iceland Yesterday

fatal accident Iceland

A man died in an avalanche in Svarfaðardalur in North Iceland yesterday. The man was travelling with two others, both of whom sustained severe injuries.

“Well-equipped, experienced mountaineers”

Three American men, born in 1988, were caught in an avalanche in Svarfaðardalur, North Iceland, yesterday.

After one of them notified emergency responders (at 19:10 yesterday), an emergency helicopter was dispatched, along with rescue teams from Dalvík, Siglufjörður, and Akureyri.

According to a FB post by the police in Northeast Iceland, the three men were “well-equipped, experienced mountaineers,” and all of them sustained severe injuries; one of the men was pronounced dead on the scene.

Further detail not available

The other two men were transported to a hospital in Akureyri, with one later being taken to the National University Hospital in Reykjavík. Details on their condition have not been made public.

Approximately 130 rescue workers took part in the search, which concluded shortly before midnight.

“It took some time to gather information about the man’s family in the US,” the police in Northeast Iceland stated. “Once we had obtained that information, the US Embassy helped inform the man’s loved ones about his death. The deceased was single and had no children.”

An investigation into the events is underway.

Scott Free Options Rights to Jónasson’s Thriller “Outside”

Ragnar Jónasson

The production company Scott Free has optioned the rights to writer Ragnar Jónason’s latest thriller Outside. Danish director Henrik Hansen is in talks to direct the feature film.

Optioned for feature adaptation

The independent film and television production company Scott Free has optioned the rights to the thriller Outside from Icelandic author Ragnar Jónasson for feature adaptation. The book relates the story of four friends who seek refuge from a lethal Icelandic snowstorm in an abandoned hunting lodge – but “nothing can prepare them for what’s inside.”

As reported by RÚV, publisher Bjartur and Veröld released a press statement yesterday saying that Scott Free would be collaborating with the Icelandic production company True North on the project. Talks are underway with Danish director Henrik Hansen.

Outside was published last year and will be released in English translation in the UK and the US this spring. The widely-acclaimed thriller will subsequently be made available in other languages. Ragnar Jónasson has sold more than three million copies of his books in thirty-six countries.

English director Ridley Scott founded Scott Free with his late brother Tony Scott in 1970. Ridley Scott ranks among Hollywood’s most renowned directors, having directed films such as Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, and Thelma & Louise. Scott has received numerous awards.

Minister to Meet with CEO Vigdís Häsler in Wake of Racist Remark

Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson

Minister of Infrastructure Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson will meet with CEO of the Icelandic Farmers’ Association Vigdís Häsler today to discuss a racist remark made by the Minister at the association’s annual conference last week. Vigdís hopes the meeting will allow her to “set the matter aside,” RÚV reports.

Words spoken in a “fit of frustration”

As reported by Iceland Review earlier this week, Minister of Infrastructure and Chairman of the Progressive Party Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson attended the annual conference of the Icelandic Farmers’ Association last week. 

After a night of “much singing, joy, and entertainment,” a few employees of the Farmers’ Association approached the Minister, asking him to partake in a photo-op. The photo-op involved lifting CEO Vigdís Häsler onto a makeshift plank. Finding the act inappropriate, the Minister refused to participate and uttered a racist remark about the CEO. (Vigdís is Icelandic but was originally adopted from Indonesia.)

Vigdís published a Facebook post on the incident on Monday, saying that she had “never imagined she would have to write such a statement: I’ve never let the colour of my skin, my race, sex, or anything else define me.” Vigdís wrote that the Minister had uttered an “extremely hurtful remark,” without getting into the details.

Shortly after Vigdís’ post, Sigurður Ingi published a written apology on Facebook. In an interview with RÚV on Tuesday, the Minister again apologised for his remark, adding that it had been spoken in a “fit of frustration.” According to Sigurður, he had tried to reach out to Vigdís on the morning after the annual conference and through the Association’s Chair on the following weekend. While pressed several times to clarify what exactly he had said, the Minister refused to repeat his remark.

Hopes to “set the matter aside”

As reported by RÚV last night, Sigurður Ingi will meet with Vigdís Häsler today. Vigdís hopes that she will be able to “set the matter aside” after the meeting, although closure will depend entirely on Sigurður Ingi. 

In a brief interview, Vigdís stated that she had received “numerous messages over the past few days,” from the parents of adopted children, among others, in which it became clear to her that “all types of racism are widely tolerated.” She did not comment further on the meeting. 

Harsh criticism from the opposition, the public

The Minister has received harsh criticism from the public, many of whom have called on him to resign. Opposition MPs have also criticised Sigurður Ingi. In a session in Parliament, Pirate Party MP Halldóra Mogensen stated that the Minister’s remark could be considered “a breach of law.”

In response to the opposition, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated that Sigurður Ingi’s apology indicated that the remark had been unacceptable and should not have been uttered. “I don’t dispute the words of the CEO of the Icelandic Farmers’ Association in this matter, but we must also be able to accept it when people apologise,” Katrín stated.