Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


Foreign traveller rescued as he is swept into the sea on Reynisfjara beach

By Staff

  • Reynisfjara beach yesterday This photograph was taken yesterday by Marten Ingi Lövdahl and shows the conditions on Reynisfjara beach when a Canadian traveller was swept to sea by one of the giant waves. Photo from the Facebook wall of Marten Ingi Lövdahl.

A giant wave swept caught four men in Reynisfjara beach in Southern Iceland yesterday. Three of the men were tour guides who had run to warn a Canadian traveller who they saw was oblivious to the imminent danger he was facing. All four managed to get to shore. A local guide warns that the beach should be closed to travellers on days like yesterday, when storms blow the sea into a fury.

The waves can easily sweep you to sea
The black sand and majestic cliffs of Reynisfjara beach by the village of Vík in Southern Iceland are a popular tourist destination, offering plenty of magnificent phot opportunities. However, the surf is not only magnificent to photograph, it can also be deadly dangerous.

Read more: Rough weather expected in the west and the south

The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service interviews Marten Ingi Lövdahl, a local guide who describes the events that led to the four men being grabbed by a giant wave which swept them into a giant cave in the cliffs by the beach.

“My colleagues go down to the beach to warn a man who is standing at the water’s edge. He is just dawdling down there. They run to him, but just in that moment a wave comes crashing in and he drops his camera. They drag him to safety up the beach, and then this giant wave comes and grabs all four and sweeps them into the cave.”

All four described the experience like being caught inside a washing machine. The Canadian traveller was thankful of being rescued, despite having lost all his camera equipment.

Travellers seem oblivious to the danger
Marten points out that he frequently sees people walking in the beach, far too close to the sea for their own safety. Large waves can reach high up on the sand and can easily grab people with them and pull them to sea. “This area is really too dangerous for people to enter without a trained guide.” Most people who hike on the beach seem to be completely unaware of how dangerous the sea can be.

Related: IMO issues a storm warning for the central highlands and in the south and west

Currently the only thing warning travellers of the dangers is one small sign. Marten believes this is not enough. The beach should simply be closed during particularly stormy days.

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