All Four Bodies Recovered from Lake Þingvallavatn

plane crash

The bodies of all four men who went missing after a plane crash last Thursday were recovered from lake Þingvallavatn yesterday. Rescue workers hope to recover the aircraft today.

One of the most extensive rescue efforts in recent history

Around 1,000 individuals took part in one of the most extensive rescue efforts in recent memory after a Cessna 172N aircraft went missing last Thursday. The plane had set off on a two-hour sightseeing trip carrying four people.

The Cessna was located in Þingvallavatn lake on Saturday in Southwest Iceland. The deceased were identified as Icelandic pilot Haraldur Diego and three passengers from the US, Netherlands, and Belgium: John Neuman, 22; Tim Alings, 27; and Nicola Bellavia, 32.

Given difficult conditions and freezing temperatures, divers spent much of Wednesday planning the recovery of the bodies, lying at a depth of 37 metres [121 feet] and deeper. Each diver was only permitted a single attempt per day and a total of 20 minutes in the water.

The bodies of all four men were recovered from the lake yesterday by rescue workers, aided by a remote-controlled submarine. The bodies have been transported to Reykjavík for identification by relatives, prior to an autopsy.

Recovering the aircraft crucial to the investigation

While recovering the bodies was a priority, retrieving the aircraft from the bottom of the lake is also vital to the investigation of the crash. A helicopter from the Icelandic coast guard, which will play an essential role in recovering the aircraft today, was on the scene near Þingvallavatn yesterday to survey conditions. Divers are expected to position flotation devices beneath the plane so that it can be heaved from the water.

As reported by Iceland Review earlier this week, Ragnar Guðmundsson, an investigator at the Icelandic Transport Authority, stated that the aircraft was located at a depth of 50 metres [164 feet] and appeared to be in good shape. The investigation committee hopes to determine the amount of fuel on the plane. The longer the aircraft remains underwater, however, 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 was no “black box,” a device that records data on an aircraft, such as flight speed, elevation, and sound, aboard the plane, for such boxes are not standard equipment on the Cessna 172N model.

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.