A bus which was specially-designed for the German military and was intended for desert warfare will be used to ferry people across the Múlakvísl river in south Iceland. A glacial flood from Mýrdalsjökull destroyed the Múlakvísl bridge on Friday night and tore a hole in the Ring Road.
The Mýrdalssandur plains through which Múlakvísl flows. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
It is hoped that the bus, which carries 40 people, can be put to work today. Meanwhile, three trucks intended to take people and goods across Múlakvísl have arrived at the river. The drivers are currently looking for the best place to cross, ruv.is reports.
The trucks will be able to carry 30 persons and two personal cars on each crossing. The service will be free of charge and open to everyone. There won’t be any special prioritization unless police and search and rescue authorities deem otherwise.
As for the specialized bus, only four such vehicles exist in the world and one of them is located in Iceland, as Björn Sigurdsson in Eyjafjördur, who is leasing the vehicle, told Morgunbladid.
The owner, Ágúst Gudjónsson, lives in Hólmavík in northwest Iceland where the bus was located last winter and came to good use during heavy snowfall and on impassible roads.
“We can easily drive across the river. Nothing stops this bus. It weighs 12 and a half tons when empty, so the current has to be really strong before it budges,” Sigurdsson stated. The bus is of the make Iveco and was constructed in 1981.
“It has an air-cooled eight cylinder engine and the tires are the size of those used on road graders. The body is made of thick aluminum, is bullet-proof and the windows are bullet-resistant,” Sigurdsson described.
The Icelandic Road Administrator had the initiative of acquiring the bus, stressing that safety is guaranteed. Sigurdsson assured that everything would be all right.
“This is the only way we see to bridge the river, so to speak, until the temporary bridge is ready. Buses can be placed on both banks to accept people. We have to keep the tourist industry going,” Sigurdsson concluded.
Click here to read an announcement in English and German about the situation.