The Czech tour bus which sank into the highland lagoon Blautulón on Saturday was driven recklessly, according to Vatnajökull National Park ranger Snorri Baldursson. He dismisses the Czech travel agency Adventura’s claims that the vehicle’s weight caused the accident.
From the bus’s recovery. Photos by Sóldís Helga Sigurgeirsdóttir of the search and rescue team Flugbjörgunarsveitin at Hella. Courtesy of ICE-SAR.
The bus was towed to shore by a crawler crane and a tractor yesterday afternoon after two divers had prepared its recovery. They fastened buoys to the vehicle to make it easier to drag it to shore, ruv.is reports.
Baldursson said this had not been a welcome visit; videos have shown other buses like these drive recklessly on Icelandic highland routes.
The owner of the vehicle, which is known as a Tatra truck, denied that his drivers are reckless, stating they are all trained and reliable. He didn’t know why videos would show them driving recklessly.
The Icelandic media found the videos in question on the travel agency’s website, most of which have since been removed. One showed a truck driving outside a ford in the river Krossá in Thórsmörk and getting stuck in a pit, ruv.is reports.
In September last year a Tatra truck almost hit an SUV in a blind turn by Landmannalaugar in the southern highlands.
The driver of the SUV, who was deemed to be 100 percent in the right, said he managed to save his life by driving up a hillside and jumping into the passenger seat when the truck hit the driver’s side.
The operations of foreign travel agencies are not monitored in Iceland; travel agencies within the EEA countries can operate tours in the country with a foreign license.
However, the Icelandic Tourist Guide Association would like to make it mandatory for all foreign travel agencies that operate tours in Iceland to bring Icelandic guides along on all larger tours, especially in the highlands and national parks.
Such regulations are widely in effect in other countries.
Click here to read more about the bus accident in Blautulón.