ICE-SAR search and rescue squads and a Coast Guard helicopter were called out on Saturday afternoon after a hiker went missing on Esja, the Reykjavík landmark mountain. He was found around 8:30 pm after an extensive search under difficult conditions.
Photos by Einar Eysteinsson showing the snowy conditions. Courtesy of ICE-SAR.
The man had been hiking with a friend on Kerhólakambur peak and they decided to take different routes down. After reaching ground level, his friend waited a while but then called to check on the man.
The man said he was lost and cold and then the contact was broken off and could not be reestablished. Conditions had become snowy and foggy. His friend therefore called the emergency services around 4 pm.
Shortly after 6 pm search and rescue managed to reach the man by phone. He explained that he was on flatland before the contact was broken off again, which limited the search area to some extent.
The weather was deteriorating and so the helicopter had to leave the search party an hour prior. Conditions had turned very windy with sleet and snowfall. It was considered vital to find the man before nightfall.
Eventually, he was found in the uppermost part of the Gunnlaugsskarð pass. His condition was good given the circumstances. Search and rescue crews followed him down from the mountain.
Around 120 ICE-SAR members from the capital region, Borgarfjörður and Suðurnes participated in the search.