The search and rescue service Björgunarfélag Hornafjardar was called out on Monday morning to assist three women who were caught up in a snowstorm while hiking on Öraefajökull glacier, a sub-glacier of Vatnajökull in southeast Iceland.
Vatnajökull. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The women had planned to hike across Vatnajökull but decided to stop and call for help because of bleak weather conditions. They said they had been exhausted and were going to be snowed under, Fréttabladid reports.
“I was a little scared, especially of the crevasses. I absolutely didn’t want to cross them in such bad weather,” one of the hikers, Isabelle Meyer from France, told Morgunbladid. “We had been walking for eight days […] and thought the weather would just get worse.”
Meyer and her travel companions Annie Delale and Brigitte Blodau are all experienced mountaineers. Their trip began on April 12 and was supposed to take them to Grímsvötn lakes and Hvannadalshnjúkur, Iceland’s highest peak.
The hikers will fly back to France on Sunday but are determined to return to Iceland another time and give the glacier one more go. In 2002 they hiked across the entire country.
According to Fréttabladid, Meyer and her fellow hikers had been well prepared and were in telephone connection with Landsbjörg (ICE-SAR), the umbrella organization for search and rescue services in Iceland, the entire time.
Search and rescue team members on snowmobiles and other vehicles found them shortly before 11 am on Monday and brought them to safety.