Flooding Leaves South Iceland Travelers Stranded Skip to content

Flooding Leaves South Iceland Travelers Stranded

Due to heavy rainfall and significant swell in rivers in south Iceland last weekend, 120-130 people are stranded in Thórsmörk, a highland resort.

Steinholtsá river is impassible, as are many rivers around Eyjafjallajökull glacier; river channels are shallow due to the volcanic eruption last spring, Morgunbladid reports.


Thórsmörk is popular among hikers. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Among those stranded in Thórsmörk is a 50-person group of recruits from the search and rescue team Hjálparsveit skáta in Kópavogur.

“They were so lucky that they were told to bring food for Saturday night but were unexpectedly given a hamburger feast so they had enough food for [Sunday night],” said Arnar Ásgrímsson, cabin guard in Langidalur in Thórsmörk.

Rainfall measured 70 millimeters from Saturday morning until Sunday evening at the weather station Vatnsskardshólar in Mýrdalur valley. It was also windy yesterday; gusts of wind reached speeds of 25 meters per second in Thórsmörk.

The Westman Island ferry Herjólfur could not sail according to schedule over the weekend and rivers flooded the Ring Road below Eyjafjöll mountains in two locations, by Svadbaelisá and Holtsá, but damages to the road were insignificant.

Search and rescue team members of Kyndill in Kirkjubaejarklaustur rescued three men who had been fishing and were stuck in a car at a sandbank in Núpsvötn river in southeast Iceland on Saturday evening.

Kyndill member Sigurdur Dadi Fridriksson swam 40 meters in a strong current towards the stranded men.

“I went for backstroke,” Fridriksson said, explaining that the car was heeling over and it was only a matter of time before it would overturn or the sandbank become flooded. “We examined all fords that we knew of but they were all impassible.”

“I brought a line and they helped me stretch it across the sandbank from land. A dinghy was tied to that line and another on shore. Then we dragged the dinghy carefully towards us. I gave the men safety vests and helmets and put them into the dinghy. Then we were dragged across the river,” Fridriksson described.

Continued rain is predicted for the region tonight.

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