If You Get Lost in Iceland, Sit Down and Wait Skip to content
Tourists catch a selfie by the edge of the new lava flowing from the crater in Geldingadalur on the Reykjanes peninsula
Photo: Golli. Tourists catch a selfie by the edge of the new lava flowing from the crater in Geldingadalur on the Reykjanes peninsula.

If You Get Lost in Iceland, Sit Down and Wait

An American tourist was found near the Reykjanes eruption site this weekend after being missing for more than 24 hours. The man, named Scott Estill, got separated from his wife around 3.00pm on Friday afternoon and was found by Search and Rescue crews around 8.00pm on Saturday, nearly 4km (2.5mi) from where he was last seen. ICE-SAR project manager Jónas Guðmundsson says for those lost in Iceland, the best thing to do is sit down and wait.

Despite a mild injury and symptoms of hypothermia, Scott was in surprisingly good shape when he was found by rescue crews. He was transported to hospital for a check-up. When Scott got separated from his wife, there was heavy fog in the area and visibility was low. Jónas told RÚV it is easy to get lost near the eruption site, where the landscape can look the same in all directions, especially when it’s foggy. “People have gotten lost in smaller areas than this and there is heavy fog there when people are looking at the eruption and it’s very easy to lose your bearings in thick fog, everything looks more or less the same and you have no idea where you’re going,” Jónas stated.

Jónas says the best thing to do if you get lost on a hike in Iceland is to sit down and wait. Aimless wandering only broadens the search area and complicates the search for search and rescue teams. He also stressed the importance of always bringing an extra layer of protective clothing as well as water, food, and a fully-charged phone.

Scott’s wife Becky extended the couple’s gratitude to search and rescue teams, the Red Cross, and Icelandic authorities, who she praised for their professionalism. “I don’t have words to express how amazing it was and not to mention how enormously grateful we are.”

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