A 19-year-old girl was rescued from a mountain sill on Vífilsfell outside Reykjavík on Sunday. The hike had been part of a school project and the way up had gone well, but the girl had strayed from the path on the way down and ended up trapped on a narrow sill.
Bláfjöll. Vífilsfell is the northernmost mountain of the Bláfjöll mountain range. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“I couldn’t move because the sill was so tiny and the way down was very steep,” the teenager, Elín Vala Arnórsdóttir, told Morgunbladid.
Arnórsdóttir called the emergency services and remained in telephone contact with the search and rescue teams, but they had a hard time spotting her since she was wearing dark clothing.
“The chopper flew past me a few times,” Arnórsdóttir recalled. She was eventually rescued by the Coast Guard helicopter TF-EIR. After the crew finally spotted her, one crew member was lowered down to her and then they were both lifted up into the helicopter.
Arnórsdóttir said she was unharmed, although she had certainly been cold and afraid.
Örlygur Karlsson, headmaster of the girl’s high school, Fjölbrautaskóli Sudurlands, told Morgunbladid that her teacher had recommended that students not go alone on hiking tours despite these tours being individual projects. “The school is not to blame,” Karlsson stated.
Mountain guide Jón Gauti Jónsson said hikers should carry a small flashlight or blinker with them on hiking tours to make it easier for search and rescue teams to spot them in the dark. “It is also advisable to have reflector stripes on clothing, not to mention basic equipment such as a GPS monitor.”
Although the helicopter crew had a hard time finding Arnórsdóttir because of her dark clothing, Jónsson said brighter colors aren’t always helpful either.