Motorcycle Accident in Garðabær Claims Young Man’s Life

Small boat fishermen crowd the Arnarstapi harbour each summer for the coastal fishing season

A man in his twenties died after losing control of his motorcycle in Garðabær yesterday, reports. An investigation has been launched into the circumstances of the accident.

Investigation launched into the incident

A man in his twenties died in a road accident in Garðabær yesterday afternoon, reports. The man was riding a motorcycle west on the Heiðmerkurvegur road when he appeared to have lost control of the bike, which veered off the road.

The accident was reported at just past 6 PM yesterday, and the man was immediately transported to the National University Hospital. He was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. The name of the deceased will not be disclosed at this time.

An investigation has been launched into the circumstances of the accident.

Divers Have Six Minutes to Retrieve Bodies from Lake

plane crash

Divers are preparing to recover four bodies from Þingvallavatn, Southwest Iceland, after their plane crashed in the lake last Thursday. Each diver may only make one attempt per day, and will only have 20 minutes underwater to recover the bodies, which lie at a depth of 37 metres [121 feet] and deeper. While recovering the bodies is a priority, authorities state that recovering the aircraft from the bottom of the lake is also crucial to the investigation of the crash.

The Cessna 172N plane went missing last Thursday after setting off on a two-hour sightseeing trip. The pilot, Icelander Haraldur Diego, was accompanied by three passengers from the US, Netherlands, and Belgium who have been named as John Neuman, 22; Tim Alings, 27; and Nicola Bellavia, 32. Around 1,000 took part in a search and rescue mission, eventually locating the plane and bodies in Þingvallavatn lake.

Recovery mission could begin tomorrow

Search and rescue crews at Þingvallavatn have prioritised recovering the bodies from the lake, but their efforts have been delayed by unfavourable weather conditions. Chief Superintendent of South Iceland Police Oddur Árnason stated that preparations for the mission are going well, and it could begin tomorrow, if conditions allow. Ensuring the divers’ safety is key: each one may not be in the water for longer than 20 minutes and may only take one dive per day. Due to this time constrain, the divers only have six minutes to do their work once they reach the bodies and are preparing by practising each movement thoroughly.

Aircraft recovery key to investigation

Ragnar Guðmundsson, investigator at the Icelandic Transport Authority, stated recovering the aircraft would be crucial for the investigation of the crash. The plane is located at a depth of 50 metres [164 feet] and appears to be in good shape. The investigation committee would like to find out the amount of fuel on the plane, but the longer it remains underwater, the more likely it is that such evidence will be compromised. So far, investigators have been relying on photographs of the plane taken by unmanned submarines.

There is no so-called “black box” on the plane, a device that records data on an aircraft, such as flight speed, elevation, and sound. Such boxes are not standard equipment on the Cessna 172N model.

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).

Few Passengers Wearing Seatbelts in Bus Crash

bus accident Hof

Only a few passengers on the bus that overturned in Southeast Iceland were wearing seatbelts, reports. This information was released as part of the police’s ongoing investigation of Thursday’s accident.

Just after 3:00 pm on Thursday afternoon, police received notice of a bus which had tipped over near Hof, Southeast Iceland. It took emergency crews around 30 minutes to free two passengers who had landed under the bus. The bus was transporting 32 passengers in total, all from China, plus a local driver. Four individuals were categorised as seriously injured. A police statement reported that many others had broken limbs and cuts that required treatment.

As of Saturday, three people were still in intensive care and one was in the acute care division. Three individuals are still also under observation in the hospital in Akureyri, but three more passengers were discharged from that institution on Friday afternoon.

‘Pots and Pans Revolution’ Key Case Study in EU Project on Populism

The Women’s Day Off protest in 2016 at Austurvöllur square.

The City of Reykjavík has received a grant of ISK 400 million [$32,642,600; €29,154,411] to participate in a three-year study entitled “Populism and Civic Engagement,” or PaCE. The project is one of many sponsored by Horizon 2020, the largest ever research and innovation-driven programme to be sponsored by the EU.

“Across Europe, there is a rise of political movements that claim to challenge liberal elites and speak for the ‘ordinary person’ – movements that can be loosely categorised as ‘populist,’” reads the project abstract. “Many of these movements have undesirable tendencies. The Populism and Civic Engagement project (PaCE)…aims to combat the negative tendencies of populist movements, to build upon the lessons of positive examples (such as Reykjavik), and hence play a part in constructing a firmer democratic and institutional foundation for the citizens of Europe.”

Indeed, the project will use Iceland’s so-called ‘Pots and Pans Revolution,’ which took place in the wake of the country’s 2008 financial crash, as a case study. This movement had some populist characteristics but—in contrast to similar movements in Hungary, Poland, Turkey, the UK, and the US—was ultimately the basis for increased liberalisation in Iceland and improvements to Icelandic democracy, such as changes to the constitution and increased accountability for politicians.

Seven international partners from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, and the UK will be collaborating on this research project alongside the City of Reykjavík and the Iceland-based Citizens Foundation. PaCE will conclude in January 2022.


Former PM Haarde Takes Position on Board of World Bank

Former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde will step down as Iceland’s ambassador to the United States on July 1, 2019 and will take up a position as a representative for the Nordic and Baltic states on the board of the World Bank, Kjarninn reports. Geir’s new position was announced on the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on Friday.

The announcement came almost ten years to the day since Geir notified the nation of the gravity of Iceland’s financial situation in a televised address. He concluded his statement with the words “Guð blessi Ísland” (May God bless Iceland). This marked the beginning of the economic collapse and in the next few days, Iceland’s banks crashed one by one.

Geir was later tried by the High Court in Iceland for violations of the constitution. This was a historic trial, marking the first time an Icelandic minister was indicted for misconduct in office.

He was acquitted of three charges, but was convicted of one, namely, not having held cabinet meetings on important matters in the lead-up to the economic collapse.

The majority opinion in the conviction stated that when Geir became aware of the risk to which the Icelandic banks were exposed, which could jeopardize financial stability in the country and thus the position of the state treasury, he should have realized that it had to be immediately investigated whether this information was true. Information on impending danger which Geir knew about, or was bound to know about, should have been reason for him as prime minister to discuss it at a cabinet meeting, if not immediately then as soon as possible.

Geir later referred the case to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that he had not received a fair trial, and also stating that the Icelandic parliament’s decision to press charges against him was made on political grounds. The court ruled, however, that Geir’s rights were not violated in the landmark case.

Geir has been Iceland’s ambassador to the US since 2015. He will be succeeded by Bergdís Ellertsdóttir, who is currently Iceland’s permanent representative to the United Nations.