Teen Rescued from Half-Frozen Reykjavík Pond Skip to content

Teen Rescued from Half-Frozen Reykjavík Pond

Andri Vilbergsson, a 25-year-old occupational therapy student, saved the life of a 19-year-old boy who fell into the half-frozen Reykjavík Pond on Saturday night. The boy was going to take a shortcut over the frozen pond when the ice broke.


The frozen Reykjavík Pond. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

“I was on my way home in a taxi when I saw something black in the pond,” Vilbergsson described to visir.is. “At first, I thought I had seen a goose or something. The taxi driver thought it was a dog.

Then Vilbergsson realized that there was a man in the pond and the taxi driver made an abrupt halt on the bridge on Skothúsvegur.

The driver called the police while Vilbergsson ran onto the ice to assist the boy, who was having trouble staying afloat. He had become exhausted and was about to give up.

Another man, a practical nurse who didn’t leave his name, arrived. He crawled along the ice and tried to come close to the boy.

Meanwhile the ice broke because of Vilbergsson’s weight, but he managed to find his footing on the bottom of the pond and waded towards the boy.

“I was wading through mud and had to break the ice to get to him,” Vilbergsson explained. The boy had repeatedly tried to get up on his own accord but couldn’t do it.

Vilbergsson told him to stand on the bottom but it didn’t seem as if he was able to; either the pond was too deep where he was or he was in shock. “I just said: ‘Carry on, carry on’.”

The practical nurse managed to crawl close up to the boy and grab hold of his hands. “The ice was probably a little thicker where he was,” Vilbergsson said.

Together they got him out of the pond and carried him onto the road. “We were freezing, of course, so we jumped up and down together to heat up. He could do that, at least.”

The boy’s body temperature had dropped to 33°C (91°F). Shortly afterwards the police arrived and took the boy to the hospital. He is now recovering.

Vilbergsson said it was coincidental that he noticed the boy in the pond. He was wearing black clothing, “so it was really lucky that I spotted him.”

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