Four Bodies Located in Þingvallavatn Lake

plane crash

Icelandic Coast Guard divers and special forces have located four bodies in Þingvallavatn lake, Southwest Iceland, where a plane crashed last Thursday. The Cessna 172N sightseeing plane, carrying one Icelandic pilot and three passengers, went missing last week, prompting extensive search efforts that eventually detected the plane underwater, and now the bodies. Crews are preparing to recover the bodies and the aircraft but must wait for weather conditions to improve.

Robot submarine located bodies

Crews located the bodies last night with the help of a Teledyne Gavia robot submarine. One is located at a depth of 37 metres [121 feet], and the other three are located further below the lake’s surface. The aircraft is at a depth of 48 metres [157 feet], around 800 metres [2,625 feet] from the shoreline of the lake.

Divers were prepared to recover the bodies yesterday when weather conditions began to deteriorate rapidly. A notice from police stated that the recovery efforts were delayed in order to ensure divers’ safety. The recovery mission will be carried out as soon as weather allows.

Relatives thank rescue crews

The sightseeing plane went missing after setting out on a two-hour trip on Thursday morning. Icelander Haraldur Diego, known as Volcano Pilot, was piloting the aircraft, transporting three tourists from the US, Netherlands, and Belgium. After extensive search efforts involving around 1,000 people, the plane was located on Saturday in Þingvallavatn lake. Further search efforts revealed that there were no bodies inside the aircraft, prompting the submarine search. The cause of the crash remains unknown.

The four individuals’ relatives, who have been informed that the bodies have been found, have expressed their thanks to rescue workers for their efforts over the past few days. South Iceland Police also thanked everyone who has lent a hand in the search and recovery efforts, while acknowledging that there is still much work ahead.

The four victims of the crash have been named in local newspaper Fréttablaðið. They are Icelandic pilot Haraldur Diego (49), Nicola Bellavia (32, from Belgium), John Neuman (22, from the United States), and Tim Alings (27, from the Netherlands).

Three Icelanders Dead, Two Seriously Injured in Private Plane Crash

múlakot plane crash

An Icelandic family was on board the private plane that crashed in the Fljótshlíð area in South Iceland yesterday, RÚV reports. Three of the five on board – a married couple and their son – were pronounced dead at the scene. The other two, the couple’s second son and daughter-in-law, were transported to the National University Hospital with serious injuries. Their condition is stable.

The aircraft which crashed was a Piper PA-23 model. The pilot, who according to police is highly experienced, was practicing touch and go landing at the Múlakot airport before the accident occurred. Witnesses of the crash received trauma support from the Icelandic Red Cross’ emergency response team.

Response crews encountered difficult conditions at the scene of the accident, as a fire had broken out in one of the aircraft’s wings when they arrived. The regional Fire Chief told RÚV that local firemen have limited experience of plane crashes and therefore needed time to figure out the best way to respond to the accident.

The transport accident investigation committee has completed its investigation of the event, though the cause of the accident is still under investigation by South Iceland Police. Authorities say it could take a long time to complete the investigation.

Unmanned Drone Aircraft to be Tested in Egilsstaðir

A remotely piloted, unmanned drone aircraft will be flight-tested in Egilsstaðir, East Iceland over the coming months. RÚV reports that the 15-metre (49-ft) wide craft that is under the joint oversight of the Icelandic Coast Guard and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will be landing and taking off from the town’s airport while tests are ongoing.

The Hermes 9000 drone is controlled via satellite and steered remotely by a pilot. It is outfitted with cameras, radar, and equipment that can detect emergency calls and will be tested for law enforcement, search and rescue, and pollution control applications in Iceland. According to a page on the EMSA website, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) “have been developed to assist in maritime surveillance operations to support authorities involved in Coast Guard functions undertaken by Member States, such as maritime pollution and emissions monitoring; detection of illegal fishing, anti-drug trafficking, and illegal immigration [and] search and rescue operations.” Some of these crafts are outfitted with infrared sensors that can detect oil spills and slicks, as well as gas sensors which “measure the amount of SOx in a plume emitted by a ship to be able to calculate the percentage of sulphur used in the fuel burned by the ship.”

The Hermes 9000 is expected to arrive in Egilsstaðir at the start of next week; tests will be ongoing in Iceland for the next three months.

Russian Bombers Enter NATO Airspace Near Iceland

airplane

Two unknown aircraft entered NATO airspace near Iceland yesterday morning, according to a press release from the Icelandic Coast Guard. The aircraft were later identified as Russian bomber planes, both Tupolev Tu-142 (Bear F) models. The two planes did not report to Icelandic air traffic control upon entering the area, nor did they have their radar active.

Two fighter aircraft of the Italian Air Force, stationed in Iceland for NATO exercises, flew to meet the planes. The Russian planes were located in NATO airspace but outside Icelandic airspace. Russian military aircraft last entered the region in December of last year, but are regularly observed near Norway.

Foreign Affairs Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarsson stated that the Italian aircraft’s response was fully in line with NATO’s working regulations. Guðlaugur says the incident “is yet another example of the importance of airspace surveillance and air policing in Iceland.”