“I’ve been better,” responded Elisabeth Gluyas, the British tourist who fell five to six meters down a gorge by the waterfall Gljúfrabúi in south Iceland in late May, when asked by Morgunblaðið’s journalist how she’s holding up. “I’m a very lucky woman to be here,” she added.
Seljalandsfoss, close to the gorge into which Gluyas fell. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
Gluyas is now recovering at Landspítali, the Icelandic national hospital in Reykjavík. She suffered fractures on both her legs, shoulder, hip and wrist, and her lungs collapsed in the fall. She remained unconscious for days and doesn’t remember the accident.
Gljúfrabúi is located by the farm Hamragarðar near the more famous Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Gljúfrabúi lies half-hidden inside a gorge and people must walk some distance and then look over the edge to see all of it.
“I remember walking to the waterfall and back because people were waiting. After that I don’t remember anything,” Gluyas recollected. Her traveling companions said that from one moment to the next she had disappeared. “No one really saw what happened.”
A search and rescue squad from Hvolsvöllur hoisted Gluyas out of the gorge and a Coast Guard helicopter took her to Landspítali. The first days after the accident she remained unconscious at the ICU.
“I saw the tiles in the ceiling but had no idea where I was or what was happening,” Gluyas said in description of what it was like regaining consciousness at the hospital.
Gluyas is now waiting to be taken by plane to a hospital in Leicester, England, where she lives, possibly by the end of this week. She said she is grateful to everyone who participated in her rescue and cared for her at the hospital.
The trip to Iceland was part of Gluyas’ 50th birthday celebration. There were two things she wanted to do for her birthday: drive a Jaguar E-Type on a race track—which she accomplished—and coming to Iceland, which was an old dream of hers.
Ever since she saw a BBC suspense program set in Iceland in the late 1970s, Gluyas has wanted to travel to the country.
She came with a group of people organizing light day trips from Vík. Ironically they call themselves “Healthy Walks Group”—“then I end up in a hospital!”
However, the accident hasn’t made her lose interest in Iceland. “The country is very beautiful,” Gluyas concluded.