Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

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Despite dramatic increase in visitors, fewer injuries at popular Golden Circle destinations

By Staff

  • The geyser Strokkur Most of the accidents in the Geysir geothermal area have taken place around strokkur. Photo/GVA

The number of serious accidents at Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir geothermal area dropped in the winter of 2016-17, compared to the previous years, despite a dramatic increase in the number of visitors. The Icelandic Environment Agency credits the drop in accidents to better walking paths and warning and information signs.

More visitors, fewer accidents
Public health authorities in South Iceland report that last winter only seven serious accidents took place at the two popular tourist destinations. In 2015-16 the number of accidents was 18, and in 2014-15 10 accidents were recorded at Gullfoss and Geysir. 

Read more: Video: Foreign travellers seem determined to get into danger by Gullfoss waterfall

Serious accidents are defined as those where an ambulance and paramedics were dispatched to pick up an injured visitor, including people who had  suffered bone fractures after slipping and falling or burn wounds from stepping into geothermal vents. During this period most of the accidents took place at the Geysir geothermal area: 23, compared to 12 at Gullfoss.

Accidents could be eliminated with more guards
The Icelandic Environment Agency, which oversees the two sites, argues that the drop in accidents last winter is primarily due to better walking paths and warning signs. The agency has also been more aggressive in closing down walking paths which were deemed dangerous due to ice or mud.

Read more: Photos: Visitors at Gullfoss waterfall stubbornly ignore warnings, venturing onto a closed path

At the same time the Agency points out that the figures could be brought down even further by adding guards at the sites during the weekends. Currently the agency does not have funding to maintain a guide at the sites during the weekends. "We could eliminate these accidents completely if we had more manpower," the Agency concludes.

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