Nearly a hundred and fifty people had to be rescued by ICE-SAR yesterday after their vehicles got snowed in on the Ring Road around the Eyjafjöll mountains and Jökulsá á Sólheimasandi glacial river in South and Southeast Iceland on Thursday night, RÚV reports.
The trouble started around 5pm on Thursday, when police in South Iceland were notified that a car had gotten stuck in the snow on the bridge over Jökulsá á Sólheimasandi glacial river, blocking all other traffic. By the time police arrived, many other vehicles had queued on either side of the bridge while heavy snow continued to fall. In the end, ICE-SAR had to transport passengers from 45 vehicles to temporary overnight accommodations, either at a hotel in Skógar or a shelter that the Red Cross opened in Heimaland.
Weather conditions and visibility were so bad on the Ring Road around the village of Hella that drivers who had gotten stranded in the area had to wait until close to 10pm for help to arrive. Some ICE-SAR rescue vehicles broke down in the snow on the way, while others had to see to other tasks before they could proceed to the stranded drivers. The weather finally began to clear around 1am and passengers were then transported to shelters.
All told, 38 people were taken to a hotel in Skógar, 100 were taken to the Red Cross shelter in Heimaland, and four people chose to stay in their own cars overnight.
Those who had stayed in the hotel or temporary shelter were driven back to their vehicles the next day. A snowmobile had been used to clear snow away from their cars and the roadway, but the road itself remained closed until Friday afternoon as conditions were still too dangerous for driving.