A special police watch has been set up on Reynisfjara beach after a Chinese tourist lost his life there yesterday, when he was swept out by a wave. Chief Inspector Víðir Reynisson told RÚV the watch is an emergency measure, and that police have requested special funding for an emergency response to the fatal accident yesterday. He stressed the importance of speeding up measures to increase tourist safety.
Police investigation revealed that the man, who was born in 1976, stood on a 50 cm (20 in) high rock, a few meters from the columnar basalt in Reynisfjall mountain, taking pictures, when the wave hit him. Police released a picture of the rock where he stood.
He was sucked out by the wave about 550 meters (600 yards) away from the shore, where his body was pulled out and into a boat by rescue workers. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.
The accident occurred at 10:39 am, but by mid-day, there were a number of tourists on the beach. By 7 pm, the decision had been made to put up a police watch as of today. The police are low on staff, so this is not a simple task. So far, a plan is in place for only two weeks.
A list of tourist destinations regarded as dangerous has been made, but funding for increased protection has not been obtained.
Vilborg Anna Björnsdóttir, vice chair of the Iceland Tourist Guide Association told RÚV a park ranger must be assigned to Reynisfjara beach. The area, she said, is so open, that people can access the beach without ever going past the warning signs. She emphasized that people on guided tours get ample warning. The tourist who lost his life yesterday was traveling with his wife, and was not part of a group.
Iceland Review would like to extend its condolences to the family of the deceased.