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björgunarsveitin þorbjörn
Photo: Björgunarsveitin Þorbjörn. Local search and rescue volunteers at the Meradalir eruption.

Two Injured at Eruption Site

Two people were injured while visiting the eruption that began on Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula yesterday. One broke an ankle and had to be transported to hospital by a Coast Guard helicopter. Several others visiting the site required assistance due to minor injuries. It’s likely that thousands visited the eruption yesterday, according to RÚV, despite authorities’ warnings that the hike is long and not for those who are inexperienced or unprepared.

Challenging 17-kilometre hike

The eruption is located in Meradalir valley, further inland from the Fagradalsfjall eruption that occurred on the Reykjanes peninsula last year. The hike to the site is around 17 kilometres [10.6 miles] long and includes considerable elevation.

Suðurnes Police Commissioner Úlfar Lúðvíksson reminds the public that the hike is difficult and not for everyone. He told RÚV that many visiting the eruption last night were not carrying flashlights, though it has begun to get dark in the evenings.

Off-road driving is banned at the site, as everywhere else in Iceland. Several individuals were fined for off-road driving near the eruption yesterday.

Not for children

Those who do visit the eruption need to be particularly aware of the risk of gas poisoning. Authorities advise visitors to avoid bringing children, who are more sensitive to toxic gases and more prone to poisoning, as heavy toxic gases collect closer to the ground. The same is true of pets such as dogs.

Calm weather is forecast at the site later today, meaning that gas will likely collect in low-lying areas. Gas measuring equipment will be installed at the eruption site tomorrow.

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