Five people were injured when a helicopter made an emergency landing in the Hengill mountain area, near Reykjavík, Sunday night, Vísir reports. Aboard were an Icelandic pilot, and four passengers. None of the injuries are life-threatening, but three people suffered broken bones.
The accident has received a lot of attention, not least because one if the passengers was Ólafur Ólafsson, owner of the helicopter and one of the men sentenced in the so-called Al-Thani case in which former key executives and major owners of Kaupþing bank were charged with market manipulation in relation to Sheik Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar’s acquisition of more than five percent of shares in Kaupþing shortly before it collapsed in the autumn of 2008. Ólafur, one of Kaupþing bank’s largest shareholders, received a four-and-a-half year sentence last year, one of which he spent at Kvíabryggja prison in Snæfellsnes, West Iceland. Since April, he has been staying at the Vernd halfway house in Reykjavík, along with three bankers from Kaupþing. Ólafur is to spend half a year at Vernd and then be under electronic surveillance for almost a year.
At Vernd, the men enjoy freedom, except for having to return every night to sleep, by 9 pm on weekends and by 11 pm on weekdays. Thus, no rules were broken when Ólafur took the business partners on a sightseeing trip, according to Vísir. He was only supposed to be back to Vernd by 9 pm.
At the time of the accident, Ólafur was taking three foreign business partners on a sightseeing trip. They were on their way back to Reykjavík when the helicopter sent out an emergency signal at 7:45 pm. The pilot managed to land the aircraft without it tipping over, and passengers were able to call the emergency phone number, 112, with an exact location. Only 35 minutes after the emergency signal was sent out, the passengers had been taken aboard the Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter, which flew them to Landspítali National University Hospital in Fossvogur. The helicopter is severely damaged. The cause of the accident is unknown, but an investigation is underway.