Landing on Frozen Lake Led to Fatal Crash

plane crash

It is not clear whether the pilot of a plane that sank in Þingvallavatn in 2022 landed on the frozen lake intentionally or not. The landing is believed to be the cause of the accident, however. The crash resulted in the death of the pilot and all three passengers, who were all content creators or influencers. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Board published its extensive report on the incident this morning.

Over 1,000 took part in search

On February 3, 2022, a Cessna 172N aircraft went missing in Iceland after setting off on a two-hour sight-seeing trip with three passengers. Over 1,100 people took part in an intensive search operation that eventually located the plane in Þingvallavatn lake. 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). The bodies and the wreckage were eventually recovered from the lake.

Drowning was cause of death

“The cause of the accident is attributed to the intentional or unintentional landing on the frozen lake, as the ice did not support the weight of the aircraft, the aircraft broke through it and crashed into the lake,” the report summary reads. The bodies of all of the deceased were recovered at some distance from the aircraft, indicating that they had tried to swim to land. It was unlikely that they would have been able to do so, however, at the water temperature was around freezing and the distance too great. Autopsy results indicated that drowning was their cause of death.

Content creation a factor in crash

According to the report, the pilot knew the area well and had often landed on frozen lakes or flown over them at low altitude in order to facilitate photography. The board expressed their belief that “it is likely that the purpose of the flight, to create reality content, was a factor in the pilot lowering the flight over the lake.”

Investigation of the aircraft revealed that it had sufficient fuel and did not reveal anything that could explain the cause of the crash. The aircraft did not contain a “black box,” as such equipment is not standard on Cessna 172N models.

Recommendations for future prevention

The board made several recommendations to authorities in order to prevent similar accidents occurring in the future. They include implementing ADS-B transmitters in all manned aircraft flying in Icelandic airspace, as well as directing pilots to respect flight rules regarding minimum altitude and to avoid landing outside runways without ensuring that conditions are safe.

The Board’s reports are, by law, intended to shed light on the cause of accidents for the purpose of future prevention and not to apportion blame or responsibility. They are not to be used as evidence in court proceedings.

Three Dead in East Iceland Plane Crash

fatal accident Iceland

Three died last night, July 9, in a plane crash southwest of Egilsstaðir.

First responders in East Iceland were called out last night after following reports of a missing plane, reported to be a Cessna 172. The 4-seater aircraft sent out a distress call around 5:01pm. In addition to ICESAR and a coastguard helicopter, Vísir reports that a helicopter from a tourist travel service also joined the search. Nearly all East Iceland first responders were called out.

The wreckage was seen around 8:00pm last night. Initially spotted by an Icelandair flight en route to Egilsstaðir, the crash site was confirmed by the tourism helicopter.

The three, including the pilot and two passengers, were pronounced dead at the scene.

East Iceland police have stated that the case is still in its early stages and they will investigate the matter further with the proper authorities.

Three Hundred Participate in Disaster Drill at Reykjavík Airport

An extensive disaster drill was held at the Reykjavík International Airport on Saturday, involving police, the fire department, ambulances, search and rescue teams, Red Cross representatives, and 60 people who volunteered to play injured civilians. RÚV reports that three hundred people took part in the exercise. Drills of this magnitude are held at every international airport every four years.

Jónas Sigurbjörnsson (Björgunarsveitin Ársæll)

These drills are extremely important for emergency responders, says Árni Birgisson, coordinator of airports and aviation security for Isavia. “Fortunately, flying is our safest form of travel, so our readiness is very seldom put to the test other than through these exercises.” To ensure that responders are prepared for every eventuality, considerable effort is put into making the drills as realistic as possible.

Jónas Sigurbjörnsson (Björgunarsveitin Ársæll)

The scene on Saturday was a dramatic one, with thick black smoke wafting over the site of the drill. According to the staged scenario, an airplane was supposed to have skidded off the runway during landing and collided with a stationary plane. This crash would have caused one of the planes to burst into flame and resulted in the death or serious injury of dozens of people.

Volunteers playing victims in the drill were, therefore, posed in various states of distress along the runway so that responders would have to act fast and prioritize the injured, even as the plane continued to burn.

Preparations Made to Recover Plane Crash Wreckage

missing plane Þingvellir

The wreckage from the plane that crashed in Lake Þingvallavatn in February will be recovered Friday, Vísir reports. Recovering the aircraft is vital to the ongoing investigation into why the plane—which did not have a black box—actually crashed.

The Cessna 172N, piloted by Haraldur Diego, went missing on February 3 after setting off on a two-hour sightseeing tour with three passengers from the US, the Netherlands, and Belgium respectively. What followed was one of the most extensive search and rescue efforts in recent memory, involving 1,000 individuals at its height. The wreck was eventually located and the bodies of the pilot and his three young passengers—John Neuman, 22; Tim Alings, 27; and Nicola Bellavia, 32—were brought up by divers from a depth of 37 metres [121 feet] and deeper. Difficult conditions and freezing temperatures further complicated the process: each diver was only permitted a single attempt per day and a total of 20 minutes in the water. Plans were made to haul out the plane itself as well, but these were postponed once conditions were determined to be too dangerous for the time being. The wreckage has remained on the bottom of the lake, at a depth of 50 metres [164 ft], ever since.

See Also: All Four Bodies Recovered from Lake Pingvallavatn

Work stations were set up by the lake today, with about 60 people set to take part in recovery operations. Although the plane’s been submerged for two months, its condition doesn’t appear to have changed. Rúnar Steingrímsson, an officer with the South Iceland Police, told reporters on Thursday afternoon that the situation is completely different from what it was in February. Conditions are much more temperate and Friday’s forecast is good.

“The barges, or at lest one of them, will probably be put out today [Thursday], and then everything will get started tomorrow,” he said. “People and the rest of the equipment will arrive on Friday morning.”

There will be five divers on hand to help with the recovery process. Besides being at a significant depth, the wreckage is also “some 1,800 metres [1.1 mi] from where we’ll be putting the equipment out,” said Rúnar. “The same place we were in last time. We’re just hoping it all goes well and that this is successful. We’ve been planning this for a long time. We went last week and photographed the plane again and it was in the same condition as when we left it. So everything seems to be good in that respect.”

“There’s a dive to the plane at this depth and then it will be hoisted up under barges and brought closer to land, within some five or six metres [16-20 ft], and then they’ll dive again and take out all the electronic equipment.”

If everything goes to plan, the aircraft will have been brought ashore by Friday evening.

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.

Missing Plane Found

missing plane Þingvellir

Search and Rescue teams have found the sightseeing plane that went missing around midday on Thursday, Vísir reports. The craft was found in Þingvallavatn lake by a remote-controlled submarine at 11:00 pm on Friday night. There were four casualties in the crash: an experienced Icelandic pilot and three foreign tourists who were from Belgium, the Netherlands, and the US, respectively.

Nearly 1,000 people took part in the search, including around 900 Search and Rescue team members, the Coast Guard’s helicopter and special operations squadrons, police officers, members of Civil Protection, the National Police Commissioner’s special squadron, employees of ISAVÍA (the national airport and air service provider of Iceland), as well as private individuals.

In its announcement about the discovery of the plane, the Coast Guard thanked all those who had taken part in the search “for their selfless and dedicated work under demanding conditions. An investigation into the incident and next steps are in the hands of the South Iceland police.”

At time of writing, there was not yet any indication of what caused the accident, and nor was it known if there was a black box on board that could potentially shed light on the circumstances of the crash.

Poor weather conditions will make recovery difficult

As of Saturday night, South Iceland police had advised that poor weather conditions and difficult conditions on Þingvallavatn lake would made it unlikely that they would be able to extract the plane before next week. Assessments had yet to determine if it would be possible to recover the bodies of the victims from the crash site before that. The Cessna 172N was found in the southeastern part of the lake, at a considerable distance from the shoreline and a depth of 48 metres [157 ft]. This is a difficult depth for divers to work at, not to mention that the water temperature ranges between 0-1°C [32-33.8°F].

“It can freeze over very quickly and then you’re diving under ice,” explained Oddur Árnason, chief superintendent of the South Iceland police. This not only makes technical maneuvering difficult, he continued, “it’s downright dangerous for rescuers.”

Rescuers wait for a 48-hour good-weather window

The recovery will be co-managed by a special task force and the Coast Guard. In order to undertake the operation, the team will need a 48-hour window of fair weather.

“The forecast for the coming days isn’t in our favor,” said Oddur. “So we’re going to use this time to get set up and call for the necessary equipment and tools we need.”

“Our priority is to get the deceased to the surface, but how that will be accomplished remains to be seen.”

Man Survives Plane Crash

Icelandic coast guard

A small plane crashed into the ground at Skálafellsöxl yesterday afternoon, RÚV reports

The single engine aircraft reportedly sent out a distress signal picked up by the Icelandic Coast Guard who rushed to the scene by helicopter around 4pm yesterday. Upon arrival they were met with the pilot who was well enough to walk towards the rescue squad by himself. He was nevertheless transported to an intensive care unit for treatment. The pilot was alone in the aircraft.

Rescue workers had trouble locating the plane’s wreckage at first, but eventually came upon its burning remains around 5pm. The coast guard then transported detectives on the scene by helicopter to inspect the premises.

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.