Search and rescue members found footprints on the Mýrdalsjökull glacial tongue Sólheimajökull last night which they believe may have been left behind by the missing tourist, whose Swedish nationality has now been confirmed. He is 25 years old.
From Fimmvörduháls yesterday. Photo by Kristinn Ólafsson.
At first, search and rescue authorities had limited information on the man’s identity and travels but it later turned out that he had rented a car which was found by Sólheimajökull in the afternoon, RÚV reports.
That changed the search conditions drastically and the control station that had been located by the cabin Baldvinsskáli on Fimmvörduháls, the mountain ridge where he was believed to be headed, was moved to Sólheimajökull.
“There was heavy rain, the weather stormy and foggy. The visibility was 100-200 meters at best and down to ten to 15 meters,” managing director of ICE-SAR Kristinn Ólafsson told Morgunbladid of the search conditions on Fimmvörduháls yesterday.
“These are very demanding conditions,” he added, explaining that lack of snow was also a problem as it prevented the use of equipment like snowmobiles and ski-doos which are often of great help during search missions.
The man called the emergency hotline 112 around 10 pm on Wednesday evening, said he had gotten lost and was standing on ice.
He described his condition as cold and exhausted. The connection was unstable and despite repeated efforts, the man could not be reached again.
Sólheimajökull is rugged and full of cracks and therefore difficult to cross so only specially-trained search and rescuers could participate in the search on foot; the Coast Guard helicopter crews could resume the search but visibility was poor yesterday.
No evidence other than the footprints have been found and it cannot be confirmed that they belong to the missing tourist, but they give search and rescuers hope, ruv.is reports.
Yet the track is difficult to follow because the ice is wet and the glacier slippery. Between 150 and 200 people will search the glacier and the surrounding areas until the early afternoon today, at which point the weather is forecast to deteriorate.
Search and rescuers are rotated on shifts; those who were searching all night and have become cold and exhausted are now given time to rest.
One of the Coast Guard’s helicopters was scheduled to join the search at 8 am, the other at 10 am. In the afternoon a rainstorm is predicted to hit the glacier.
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