Search Continues for Fisherman Who Fell Overboard

The Icelandic Coast Guard defended Iceland during the Cod Wars

The search continues for a sailor who fell overboard a fishing vessel just outside the Faxaflói Bay on Friday afternoon. RÚV reports that the search and rescue operation is the most extensive of its kind in years, with eight ships and one of the Coast Guard’s helicopters currently taking part.

Ships went out in search of the man as soon as the Coast Guard got word of his accident at around 5:00 pm on Friday. At the time, two helicopters, the Coast Guard’s patrol ship Þór, and 14 fishing vessels and search and rescue boats joined the search. The majority of the search was paused just before 1:00 am on Saturday morning, although the patrol ship Þór continued to look overnight.

The search resumed in full at 10:00 am on Sunday morning; one of the Coast Guard’s helicopters joined in around 11:00 am. Given the time that had passed since the sailor fell overboard, the search area was expanded to a radius of ten nautical miles to the northwest of the Garðskagi peninsula.

Guðmundur Birkir Agnarsson, the Coast Guard’s operations manager, said that search conditions on Sunday were worse than they were the day before, with stronger winds and waves, and more limited visibility. At time of writing, the sea temperature in Faxaflói Bay was about 5°C [41°F].

Accidents at sea have, thankfully, become far less common than they used to be in Iceland. “Over the last few years, we haven’t had any fatal accidents at sea, including with people falling overboard,” said Guðmundur Birkir. “So this probably the most extensive search we’ve had in recent years.”

Search and rescue efforts will continue until darkness falls, Guðmundur Birkir confirmed, although he did not say how efforts would continue if the missing man had not been found by then.

Read more about how Icelandic fishermen are trained to stay safe.

Crew of Stranded Fishing Boat Rescued in Súgandafjörður

sailor rescued by helicopter.

Four sailors were rescued when a 21-tonne fishing boat stranded yesterday evening, near the mountain Göltur, in Súgandafjörður in the West Fjords.

The Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) received a distress call from the boat at 22:00 yesterday evening and immediately dispatched a rescue helicopter. ICE-SAR rescue teams from the northern West Fjords were also mobilised.

According to a statement from the ICG, the stranded boat quickly became stuck between two rocks. Despite relatively calm weather, sizeable waves broke over the fishing boat. In light of unfavourable conditions, a rescue boat could not advance close enough for rescue; rescue teams came by land from northern Súgandafjörður.

The ICG‘s rescue helicopter, TF EIR, arrived on the scene at 23:42. The fishing boat’s four crew members were safe aboard the helicopter at midnight. They were then transported to Ísafjörður.

According to RÚV, the patrol ship Týr is expected to arrive at the scene of the incident early this morning. Conditions will be surveyed with an eye to salvaging the marooned boat.

The Coast Guard has released a video of the helicopter rescue.