A woman died after falling and sliding more than 200 meters in the slopes of Esja, the Reykjavík landmark mountain, yesterday afternoon. She had been hiking with a group of around 30 people to Hátindur peak when the accident occurred.
The accident was reported at 2:31 pm. At that point the weather was deteriorating quickly and the conditions were so poor that a helicopter couldn’t be sent to the scene, Fréttablaðið reports.
Conditions were described in a press release from ICE-SAR as snowy, windy with less than 100-meter visibility.
It took the around 20 specially-trained mountain rescue workers hours to climb ice and cliffs to get to the woman. When they found her at 5 pm she had died.
The group was hiking a known route to Hátindur, near the mountain’s highest peak. Most of the hikers made their way down the mountain after the accident occurred but three of them moved on to the scene of the accident, which is at an altitude of 620 meters, and required assistance by search and rescue to descend.
The descent took three hours and the last person didn’t reach ground level until 8 pm last night as one of the hikers had to be lowered down cliffs.
Another half hour passed until the woman’s body could be brought down from the mountain. At that point six hours had passed since the accident was reported.
“Mountains like this are always difficult to hike in Iceland at this time of year. These are almost vertical cliffs,” stated Jónas Guðmundsson at ICE-SAR. A total of 50 volunteers participated in the operation.
The victim’s name had not been released.
ICE-SAR was also called out yesterday to assist skiers at Skálafell, one of the capital region’s ski resorts. A blizzard struck suddenly and conditions worsened quickly.
Click here to read about another recent accident in Esja.