Four Tourist Fatalities in Two Months Skip to content

Four Tourist Fatalities in Two Months

In less than two months, there have been four fatal accidents involving foreign tourists in Iceland, Vísir reports. Wednesday, a Chinese tourist died on Reynisfjara beach, after being washed out by a wave; at the end of January, a Chinese woman died in a scuba diving accident in Silfra, Þingvellir; at the beginning of January, a British tourist was found dead in Snæfellsnes; and on December 26, a Japanese tourist lost his life in a traffic accident in South Iceland.

Clearly, the safety of tourists needs to be improved, according to Jónas Guðmundsson, the project manager for ICE-SAR’s Safetravel . He told Vísir that three areas need to be addressed:

“First of all, this is about prevention and education, and much has been done in those areas in recent years, for example by launching the Safetravel project, which is a cooperative effort between ICE-SAR, the state and the tourism service, but we clearly need to do better.”

Secondly, Jónas mentioned building up infrastructure, which he says is nowhere near ready for the immense increase there has been in the number of tourists. In that regard, he mentioned build-up at tourist destinations, as well as the road system, especially the lack of a hard shoulder in places where tourists like to stop at take pictures.

The third part has to do with monitoring and law enforcement. The problem, he said, is a lack of funds, and the South Iceland Police will have to cut one position even as the work load is increasing. “Rescue teams are called out because of tourists every day,” he added. The South Iceland police district covers 32,000 km2 (12,355 miles2), and is serviced by 34 police officers.

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