The buses which got stuck on the mountain pass Fjarðarheiði leading from Egilsstaðir to Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland on Tuesday evening due to slippery road conditions did not have good enough winter tires or chains, according to Jóhann Scheither, a tour guide on one of the buses.
Seyðisfjörður. Photo: Zoë Robert/Iceland Review.
Jóhann told ruv.is that repeated requests to improve the buses’ safety gear had been ignored.
The buses were carrying around 140 tourists—not 300 as earlier reported—who had arrived with the Norræna ferry to Seyðisfjörður and had gone on a daytrip to the Hérað region. The steep pass became so icy that the drivers were unable to take the people back to the ferry by bus.
As reported yesterday, search and rescue were called out to drive the tourists on smaller and safer vehicles. No accidents occurred but some of the tourists were frightened and were provided with crisis council by the Icelandic Red Cross onboard Norræna.
Most of the other buses used in the area, however, are suitably equipped and the event has highlighted the importance of having the correct tires, according to Jóhann. “Now they have seen what this can mean and cost. They just need to be better equipped and I think they have finally realized that,” he said.