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The Ring Road was closed in the town of Selfoss at Ölfusárbrú bridge yesterday evening following a strange car accident which ended with a man jumping off the bridge into the river. ICE-SAR units which were at the site pulled the man's unconscious body from the river only a few minutes later. He was resuscitated and taken to the National University Hospital in Reykjavík. Police has not been able to interrogate the man.
According to a statement from the Police in South Iceland a man driving a passenger vehicle crashed his car at high speed into the railing of Ölfusárbrú bridge in downtown Selfoss shortly after eight yesterday evening. According to eyewitnesses the man then exited the car and jumped off the bridge into the river.
The car was seen driving at high speed from the North-West toward Selfoss and the bridge. The man is believed to have been driving from Reykjavík when he crashed the car into the bridge. Nothing is known of the events leading up to the accident.
At the time a group of members of Iceland Search and Rescue in Selfoss were gathered in the ICE-SAR headquarters in Selfoss, which are located next to the bridge. The team was able to launch zodiac boats into the river to go after the man almost immediately after he fell into the river. According to the local news site Vísir a full rescue operation was underway only a couple of minutes after the man fell into the river.
The chief paramedic with the Selfoss Fire Department was also taking an evening walk at the time, and witnessed the incident. He was able to keep the man in sight until the members of ICE-SAR had arrived at the scene, helping direct their boats to where the river had taken the man, allowing them to locate him and rescue him much more rapidly.. The man had drifted 1.5 km downstream when he was rescued.
The man was unconscious when he was pulled from the water, but the Search and Rescue teams managed to resuscitate him before the Coast Guard Helicopter arrived at the scene. The man was taken to the National University Hospital in Reykjavík where he is being treated.
A remarkable rescue
The rescue has been described as remarkable. A Police Chief Superintendent in South Iceland told the local news site Vísir that the man had been rescued nine minutes after he jumped in.
"What I think really stands out is the fact that only nine minutes pass between ICE-SAR receiving the distress call and the man being pulled from the river. I think that's damn remarkable achievement, and a testament to what they are capable of doing."
The Ring Road remained closed for nearly four hours while police investigated the scene.
A number of witnesses have come forward, but the Police in South Iceland has been unable to interview the man.
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