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.

Hope Dwindles for Mountaineer John Snorri’s Safe Return

John Snorri Sigurjónsson icelandic mountaineer

Icelandic mountain climber John Snorri Sigurjónsson remains missing after attempting to summit K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, last week. Rescue crews and climbers have stated it is unlikely that John Snorri and his two companions are still alive as conditions on the mountain are extremely cold and difficult. John Snorri’s wife Lína Móey Bjarnadóttir stated she still hopes for a miracle and her husband’s safe return.

John Snorri is accompanied by Pakistani mountaineer Ali Sadpara as well as Chilean climber Juan Pablo Mohr. The three lost contact with base camp last Friday when they were some 400 metres from the peak. Ali’s son Sajid Sadpara, who accompanied the team up to 8,200 metres before turning back due to a malfunction in his oxygen tank, has participated in the search for the team, which has involved several helicopter trips and assistance from the Pakistani Army. Sadpara has stated it is unlikely his father and the others are still alive.

John Snorri’s Wife Holds Out Hope

In a post on her Facebook page yesterday, John Snorri’s wife Lína Móey Bjarnadóttir stated she still has hope that her husband will return home safely. “I have not given up and know that there is still room for a miracle because the week is not over, his camp will stay open until Saturday. Those who know John Snorri Sigurðsson know what strength he has and I hope that more people out there will give me the wind beneath my wings to try until we’ve tried everything.”

At 8,611m (28,251ft), K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth and is considered a much more challenging climb than Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak. In 2017, John Snorri became the first Icelander to top the mountain, which is located on the China-Pakistan border. He then set his sights on being the first person ever to ascend the peak during winter but was beaten to that goal by a team of Nepalese mountaineers last month. This is John Snorri’s second attempt to ascend K2 in winter.

The search for the team continues, though according to a press release weather conditions have made it “almost impossible.”

Missing Boy Found Safe and Sound

Search and Rescue was called out at 4:00 pm on Thursday to search for a ten-year-old boy who had gotten separated from his family near Hreðavatn lake, in West Iceland, Vísir reports. The boy was found just before 6:00 pm near Grábrók crater, safe and sound.

Initially, the search consisted of 40 ICE-SAR volunteers who conducted their search in the forest by the lake, which is also surrounded by lava, cliffs, and scrub plains. By the time the search reached its height, nearly 200 ICE-SAR volunteers were helping to look for the boy on foot and quad bikes, as well as using drones and tracker dogs. The Coast Guard’s helicopter was also called out but returned to its base when the boy was found.

Rescuers found the boy shortly after ICE-SAR received a call-in tip about his whereabouts.

Search for Missing Woman Unsuccessful

missing woman

A search for a missing woman in the capital area was called off sometime after 1.00am this morning without success, RÚV reports. Capital area police enlisted search and rescue volunteers last night to help find 26-year-old Sandra Líf Þórarinsdóttir Long, who has been missing since last Thursday. A helicopter and boats were sent out from Álftanes around 11.00pm but the search was called off less than three hours later.

Sandra Líf’s car was found on the Álftanes peninsula in the suburbs of Reykjavík. The search for her has been concentrated in that area, as well as along the southern coastline toward Seltjarnarnes.

Rescue Teams Search for Teenager in River

extreme weather Iceland

A teenage boy fell into a river in North Iceland last night while helping a farmer restart electricity on the farm, RÚV reports. The boy, whose age has not been made public, was carried away by the stream and remains missing. The farmer managed to stay clear of the wave of slush that pulled the boy into the water. Extreme weather has been causing power outages across Iceland over the past two days.

The river in question is Núpá, located in Eyjafjörður, South of Akureyri. Superintendent of Northeast Iceland Police Jóhannes Sigfússon says the police were notified of the accident around 10.00pm last night.

Carried away by a wave

“There’s a home power station there and a reservoir and a dam which they were working to clear slush from the intake. They stood there up on the wall and one of them managed to escape from the wave but not the other and [he] landed in the river which took him with it.”

Search and rescue forces and police were then notified of the incident. All teams in the area attending to various weather-related calls were then sent to look for the boy. Travel was difficult, as roads to the farm were impassable. So far, the search has not been successful.

Weather remains harsh

More than 40 individuals were on call that night, including a ten-member group specialised in water rescue, divers from capital area firefighting crews, and police special forces. Further assistance has been called to the scene, and 20-25 others are on their way from Blönduós and Reykjavík to assist with the search. Conditions at the scene are extremely difficult.

“The weather has just remained very similar,” Jóhannes says. “It’s slightly windy weather and freezing so there’s high wind chill and hard to work for many hours under those conditions as people cool down. Then of course there is darkness, winter darkness here now, and in addition to that there’s slush in the river which makes it even more difficult.”

Divers Called Out to Search For Missing Belgian Tourist

Þingvallavatn

Three divers from the Coast Guard’s special operations and bomb disposal services were called out on Thursday to continue the search for a Belgian tourist whose kayak and backpack were found in Þingvallvatn lake this week, Vísir reports. The team was joined by additional ICE-SAR divers and will continue today.

Search and rescue teams have been looking for 41-year-old Björn Debecker since last weekend when his backpack and an empty boat were found in the lake. The father of two and engineer from Leuven is known to have camped in Þingvellir last Friday night but has not been seen since. An investigation into the case has led to a smaller search area. Today, the divers are only searching in the south end of the lake. Diving in the lake is difficult, as the water is very cold and some parts of the lake are up to 80 m deep.

Missing Belgian Believed to Be in Lake

Þingvallavatn

An extensive search for a foreign tourist in his 40s did not bear fruit this weekend, RÚV reports. An unmanned boat and backpack found floating on Þingvallavatn lake in Southwest Iceland suggest that the man fell into the water. Authorities will explore the possibility of diving into the lake to continue the search today.

Dozens of search and rescue volunteers searched for the man on Saturday and Sunday, finding an unmanned boat and backpack floating on Þingvallavatn yesterday. The backpack belongs to a Belgian tourist who is known to have stayed at the Þingvellir camp site on Friday night. His tent has not been found.

Windy conditions led to search teams eventually being called off yesterday. Þorvaldur Guðmundsson of ICE-SAR says the organisation may contract a diver to continue the search today near the power station at Sog river.

Missing Brothers Found in Akureyri

Akureyri Iceland

Two young brothers aged five and six went missing in Akureyri on Friday but were found safe and sound only hours later, having walked 4.5km (2.8mi) from home, RÚV reports.

The boys’ parents woke at 7.00am on Friday to discover that the brothers were gone. Hermann Karlsson, a duty officer with the Akureyri police, said the boys “…just decided when they woke up to go outside and play because in their minds, the day had started – the sun was shining and the weather was good.” The boys started off on their bikes, but then left them behind on Glerárgáta street and continued their journey on foot.

When the children were first reported missing, police decided to immediately ask for any information from the public about their whereabouts on Facebook, and quickly received a number of tips. As it happens, newly installed surveillance cameras on Glerárgata also proved useful. The cameras, which had only been connected the day before, helped police and searchers track the boys’ route.

The brothers’ foster father found them playing at at Naustaskóli school just before 10.00am.

New Sonar Technology To Be Used in River Search

Authorities hope to soon locate the car of an Icelandic man who drove into the Ölfusá river just outside of Selfoss, South Iceland at around 10 pm on Tuesday night, RÚV reports. Nearly a hundred people participated in the search for 51-year-old Páll Mar Guðjónsson but so far, no sign of Páll’s car or any clues to its whereabouts have been found.

The initial search, which was made more difficult by strong winds and heavy rains, continued until close to 3 am on the first night, with an additional 100 people joining in before the evening was out. It continued on a smaller scale the next day, during which time, authorities also held a consultation meeting with multiple diving teams. Smaller spot-searches were also conducted on Thursday and Friday by boat and a larger-scale volunteer-run search is planned to take place over the weekend.

Meanwhile, after consulting with the diving specialists, searchers have decided that they will experiment with multibeam echosounder measurements over the riverbed, which will be taken in the ravine where the car entered the water and give them a clearer picture of the river depth as well as return point measurements.

This is the first time that this technology will have been used in a search here in Iceland, but searchers need to wait for the right weather conditions before they can proceed. Current weather forecasts suggest that it will be possible to take the multibeam measurements in the middle of the coming week, when there will be warmer temperatures and less precipitation.

Family of Missing Icelander Continues Search in Dublin

The family of Jón Jónsson, the Icelandic tourist who went missing in Dublin, Ireland two weeks ago, has been joined by ten Icelanders and dozens of Irish volunteers in their ongoing search for their missing loved one, RÚV reports. Although the family says that the Irish Garda has been keeping them well-updated on the search and has been collaborating with Icelandic police as well, authorities have yet to turn up any definitive clues about what happened to Jón. His family, however, isn’t giving up and staged another extensive search on Saturday morning, which, Vísir reports, as many as 100 locals took part in.

Jón Jónsson went missing in the Whitehall neighbourhood of Dublin while on holiday with his girlfriend. He is 6 ft [1.8 m], of medium build, and was wearing a black padded jacket when he was last seen. He left the Bonnington Hotel at 11:05am without his wallet, passport, or phone; he has not been heard from or seen since he was then caught by CCTV shortly afterwards, travelling down Swords Road on foot.

An Irish volunteer named Eamon Connolly spoke to RÚV about the local support that Jón’s family has received. “I don’t find it strange myself,” he said. “I just find when there is a situation like this, people rally around—community spirit. And it’d be a similar situation, I’d say, if there was an Irishman lost in Iceland.” Eamon noted that volunteers have made inquiries throughout the city centre, including at hostels, homes, and pubs, and “talking to people, putting a lot of posters up.”

Searches have also been made of the surrounding areas and with the long-distance collaboration of ICE-SAR, Icelandic Search and Rescue, volunteers in Dublin have been able to map which areas have been searched using Google Earth and Google Maps.

Two of Jón’s brothers discussed his situation on a popular Icelandic talk show and his family is maintaining a Facebook page—Jon Jonsson missing in Dublin—with updates about the search (in English) as well as links to their GoFundMe account.

Anyone with information about Jón’s whereabouts or disappearance are asked to contact Ballymun Garda Station on 01 6664400, The Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station. People who wish to volunteer by distributing missing persons flyers or to assist with the family’s ongoing search efforts can also be in touch at [email protected].