German Hikers Saved from Iceland Eruption Site Skip to content

German Hikers Saved from Iceland Eruption Site

By Iceland Review

Members of the south Iceland search and rescue team Árborg fetched two German hikers yesterday who had been stormbound for three days in Baldvinsskáli, a cabin on the Fimmvörduháls mountain pass near the volcanic eruption.

The eruption a few days after it started. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The travelers had hiked up the pass on Thursday to watch the eruption when the weather took a turn for the worse and they sought shelter in the cabin, Morgunbladid and Fréttabladid report.

“We were dry and warm and we had enough food so we were feeling alright,” said one of the hikers, Tomas. They contacted the emergency services when they ran out of food and the weather still hadn’t cleared.

Both Tomas and his friend, Tobias (their surnames were not revealed in the article), are experienced hikers and were well prepared. They have been to Iceland on three other occasions and knew about the cabin on Fimmvörduháls.

Despite spending three days on the mountain pass, the tourists were unable to see the eruption. “It was too risky,” said Tomas. “We did go out of the cabin a lot and knew what we were doing. The only problem is that we ran out of time and have already missed our flight.”

It took the search and rescue team four hours to drive to the cabin from Skógar. The trip down was also slow; there was a lot of ice in the river Skógaá.

Three emergency vehicles embarked on the trip but only one could cross the river and reach Baldvinsskáli. “We are very grateful,” Tomas said.

Weather conditions were not suitable for traveling up Fimmvörduháls yesterday; emergency crews turned back two groups of hikers who they met at Skógaá.

Meanwhile it seems as if the eruption has calmed down. It hasn’t been seen for a while due to poor visibility in the eruption area. “It is very likely that there is little activity there now, if any,” geophysicist Ármann Höskuldsson told Morgunbladid.

Seismic activity at the eruption zone took a sharp downturn on Saturday and hasn’t picked up again. The activity is now similar as to what it was before the eruption began.

Höskuldsson said this is not a definite sign that the eruption is over, pointing out that in the underwater eruption which created Surtsey island in 1963, activity also calmed down for a while but then resumed.

However, at 7:34 this morning an earthquake measuring 3.2 points on the Richter scale hit the northeastern Eyjafjallajökull glacier, mbl.is reports.

Geologist Einar Kjartansson at the Icelandic Meteorological Office stressed that the sensor located directly at the eruption site on Fimmvörduháls is not showing seismic activity and that the situation is similar as to what is was one hour before the eruption began on March 20.

Click here to watch pictures of a lava lake inside the crater and here to read more about the hikers who were stuck in the cabin on Fimmvörduháls.

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