The search and rescue team Stefán in the Mývatnssveit district in northeast Iceland was called out yesterday afternoon because of a ptarmigan hunter who had fallen into a crevasse near the crater Lúdent east of the lake Mývatn.
The unlucky ptarmigan hunter turned out to be actor Jörundur Ragnarsson of the Shift-series (to the left on the poster), who was there with actor friend Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, Morgunbladid reports. “It was a shock, I’m still shaking and tired after the walk,” Gudnason commented last night.
According to an ICE-SAR press release, Ragnarsson was unharmed but unable to get out of the crevasse. However, when the members of Stefán arrived to the scene, he had managed to get out of the crevasse on his own accord. He had to leave his gun behind, though, but was assisted in retrieving it.
Snow was covering the ground and it was getting dark when the accident occurred, Gudnason explained. “We took separate routes over the last stretch and I had reached the car when he fell into the crevasse.”
“He fell around eight meters but the crevasse is definitely 20-30 meters deep. He stopped at an ice ledge between the walls of the crevasse. Then he managed to climb towards the opening, get a telephone connection and call me,” Gudnason described.
“I called the rescue service and went looking for him. By that time it had become completely dark. I kept calling his name but never heard him,” Gudnason continued. “But somehow he managed to get out of the crevasse on his own accord—he got some unexplainable boost of strength and saved himself.”
By lake Mývatn in winter. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Gudnason said the search and rescue team was quick to reach the scene of the accident. The whole ordeal took about two hours. He and Ragnarsson often go hunting together and they had already gotten a few birds when the accident occurred.
“But they were expensive those ptarmigans, we almost had to pay for them with a human life. It taught us a lot,” Gudnason added, declaring his friend a lucky man. “He has a bump on his head and one broken fingernail, which is incredible. It’s mainly the shock.”
The actors had planned to return to Reykjavík yesterday evening but changed their plans. “We called the theater and were given a break from rehearsal [today] because we’re simply exhausted from fatigue and shock,” Gudnason stated. Ragnarsson was already sleeping when Morgunbladid’s journalist contacted them.
But they’re not going to give up on ptarmigan hunting, though. “No, no. But we’ve learned from the experience,” Gudnason concluded.
There are many crevasses in the Mývatnssveit area and with snow covering the ground it can be difficult spotting them, ICE-SAR warns.
In other ICE-SAR news, its members have been selling a keychain with a search and rescue figurine called Neydarkallinn (a play on words, it can both mean “emergency man” and “emergency call”) over the weekend in an annual fund-raising initiative which kicked off on Thursday.
Geysir pilot Dagfinnur Stefánsson (left) buys the Neydarkall from Guttormur Thórarinsson, whose father was among Stefánsson’s rescuers, and Magnús Hallgrímsson, co-founder of the search and rescue association Flugbjörgunarsveitin á Akureyri.
Dagfinnur Stefánsson, who was the pilot of the airplane Geysir which crash landed at Bárdarbunga on Vatnajökull glacier in 1950, started the initiative by buying the first Neydarkall.
Search and rescue team members were the first to reach the scene of the plane crash and Stefánsson said they had been of great help but search and rescue associations today are better prepared to deal with disasters.
Many search and rescue associations were founded following the Geysir accident.
Click here to read more about ptarmigan hunting in Iceland.