Sea Accident Survivor Spent Four Hours in Water Skip to content

Sea Accident Survivor Spent Four Hours in Water

Eiríkur Ingi Jóhannsson, the only member of the four-person crew of Hallgrímur SI-77 who survived when the trawler sank off Norway on Wednesday, spent almost four hours in the cold and heavy seas before he was rescued.


A trawler. The photo is not related to the story. By Páll Stefánsson.

“We flew as low as we could and examined every object carefully, but we only had visibility of about 100 meters. After half an hour we saw the man who survived, he was wearing a rescue suit which reflected the light and was waving his hands,” Olve Arnes, the pilot of the Norwegian Air Force helicopter which came to the man’s rescue, told Morgunblaðið.

Arnes added to Fréttablaðið that Eiríkur, who is 34, was obviously strong, not least mentally. The first thing he did once aboard the helicopter was to guide them on the search for the lost crew members. He told them that he is a diving instructor and Arnes believes that may have saved him.

Hilmar Snorrason, principal of the Accident Prevention School for Seamen, told Morgunblaðið that this is probably the longest an Icelander has been in the water in a floatation suit.

Abroad there are examples of people surviving for eight hours in such suits. In a temperature of 0°C (32°F), floatation suits are supposed to stop the body temperature from dropping by more than one degree for six hours.

The names of the three men who were lost at sea have been released: Einar G. Gunnarsson (born 1944), Gísli Garðarsson (born 1949) and Magnús Þórarinn Daníelsson (born 1947).

Einar lived in Reykjavík and leaves behind a wife, four grown daughters and a grandchild. Gísli lived in Reykjanesbær and leaves behind a wife. Magnús, who also lived in Reykjanesbær, leaves behind a wife, three grown children and five grandchildren.

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