Truck driver Sigmundur Gudmundsson is lucky not to have suffered any serious injuries when his truck overturned in Kelduhverfi, northeast Iceland, around 3:30 am on Tuesday night. He crawled out of the wreckage and walked to the next farm for help.
Snow drifts across the road in northeast Iceland. The photo is not related to the story. By Páll Stefánsson.
“It was ugly. I consider myself lucky. There was someone protecting me, that’s for sure,” Gudmundsson told Morgunbladid.
“I was coming from Raufarhöfn transporting cod to Ólafsfjördur. When I entered Kelduhverfi by [the farm] Hraunbrún I hit slush on the road, the truck hydroplaned and I lost control. It didn’t matter that I tried to turn it, nothing happened,” Gudmundsson described, adding that it was windy at the time of the accident.
The truck landed off the road and slid on its side for a short while before it came to a stop. The cab was so distorted that Gudmundsson got stuck under the truck’s steering wheel and it took some time before he managed to pry himself loose.
In an interview on RÚV’s radio station Rás 2, Gudmundsson described how his thermos had rolled down beside him and that before doing anything else, he had himself a cup of hot coffee while pondering what to do next.
“I was mostly worried that the vehicle would catch fire. Therefore I tried to twist my leg to cut loose. I then broke the windscreen to get out,” he told Morgunbladid.
He lost his phone in the accident but had been on the phone with another truck driver when it happened and it was he who dialed the emergency hotline.
With a bleeding wound on his arm, Gudmundsson walked to Hraunbrún where the residents tended to his injuries and confirmed his location to the emergency services. At the hospital in Húsavík, he was given 30 stitches.
Gudmundsson is also sore after the accident and assumes he has to be away from work for some time. “But hopefully not too long,” he added.
Arnar Ólafsson, managing director of Nesfrakt, which owns the truck, said after examining the scene of the accident that it is unbelievable that Gudmundsson only suffered minor injuries.
“The driver’s seat came loose and the dashboard went right into his lap so he was incredibly lucky. When you look at it you cannot understand how there was room for him there,” Ólafsson stated.
He added most of the cargo, nine tons of cod, is ruined, although fortunately it was cold so some of the fish that wasn’t scattered in the moor might be saved. The truck is damaged beyond repair but Ólafsson said both the vehicle and the cargo were insured.