Hikers in West Iceland Save Life of Injured Woman Skip to content

Hikers in West Iceland Save Life of Injured Woman

A woman, who hit her head, lost consciousness and slid 200 meters down the slope of Skessuhorn peak on Mt. Skardsheidi in west Iceland on Saturday, has been discharged from intensive care. Her hiker friends saved her life during difficult circumstances.

“I jumped down after her. The slope was steep and covered in snow so I slid fast. In the end I could run down in front of her and stop her,” described tour guide Jón Gauti Jónsson to Morgunbladid.

“Then I saw that there was blood in her nose and mouth and no sign of life,” Jónsson continued. “I immediately called the emergency line and tried to dress her in the clothes I had.”

Once the other members of the group reached Jónsson and the woman she showed signs of regaining consciousness but it was obvious that all movement was extremely painful for her.

The hikers therefore decided to stay where they were, trying to keep the woman warm in any way possible. They laid the woman on top of their backpacks and took turns in lying up close to her.

“In the meantime the others dug a snow house into the slope [to use as shelter],” Jónsson explained. “Those who were digging quickly became warm and then they lay down beside her while the others continued with the digging. It went on like this for three hours.”

The weather conditions were extremely difficult for the emergency services to get to the group, strong wind and precipitation and then darkness fell, adding to the poor visibility.

The accident occurred around 2 pm, the first search and rescue team members arrived around dinner time and the woman wasn’t moved until at 10 pm.

Approximately 120 people participated in the rescue operation, using snowmobiles, snowcats and a Coast Guard helicopter.

“We just kept eating to stay warm so that we could keep her warm,” Jónsson said, complimenting his fellow hikers on their efforts.

“I was told that her body temperature was 36°C (96.8°F) when she arrived at the hospital, so it is clear that the group did a good job keeping her warm during the long period of time in such difficult circumstances,” the mountain guide concluded.

The group which Jónsson guided that day is called Toppfarar, who are experienced mountaineers and have hiked to the peaks of many of Iceland’s highest mountains.

Skessuhorn is a rather frequented peak because it’s one of the best viewpoints in west Iceland. It does not seem an easy hike because it is fenced off by cliffs on most sides. However, one path leads up to the peak that hikers can use.

Click here to read about another recent rescue mission during difficult circumstances.

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