The search for a man who fell into a crevasse in Grindavík on Wednesday is set to resume today, RÚV reports. The operation was paused due to safety concerns from rockfall.
The town of Grindavík was evacuated on November 10 amid powerful seismic activity. Earthquakes and the formation of a magma dike under the town opened crevasses and damaged roads, homes, and infrastructure in and around Grindavík. (A short, but powerful eruption occurred northeast of the town between December 18 and 21 and volcanologists say that another could occur soon.)
After the evacuation was lifted, construction workers began filling in the crevasses in town, as business operations resumed. On Wednesday, a man who was finalising work on one of the crevasses went missing. After his tools were discovered by a colleague near the crevasse, rescue workers began searching for the man.
Why was the search paused?
The search for the man was paused before midnight yesterday, after continuous efforts since Wednesday, due to the inability to ensure the safety of rescuers in the crevasse owing to rockfall. But the search will continue today.
Read More: Out of Harm’s Way (The Evacuation of Grindavík in Photos)
“At around midnight last night, we had to stop the search because we could not guarantee the safety of those working down in the crevasse,” Úlfar stated in a conversation with RÚV this morning. “There was rockfall within the crevasse.”
Despite the shifting of rocks and debris within the crevasse yesterday, rescuers did not suffer any injuries. The conditions for the search are, however, highly challenging.
As noted by RÚV, efforts have been made to widen the opening of the crevasse, which is narrow. This has limited the search to only two people being able to descend into the crevasse at a time.
Updated at 20:17. The search for the man has been called off.