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Yesterday at Reynisfjara: ICE-SAR member narrowly saved 6 year old from being swept out

By Staff

  • Reynisfjara beach Yesterday a 47 year old German traveller died after being swept to sea. It could have been even worse: At least two young children were saved as they were being pulled out by the waves. Photo/Friðrik Þór.

As he was responding to the distress call sent out after a 47 year old German woman was swept to sea at Kirkjufjara beach a member of the local Search and Rescue Unit Víkverji, Ívar Guðnason, rescued a six year old child which was about to be swept to sea. The only reason Ívar was at the site was that the initial report of the nature of the emergency were unclear.

Read more:Travellers stubbornly refuse to respect warning signs, venture onto closed Kirkjufjara beach

The first report indicated that there were travellers in danger at Reynisfjara beach, when in fact the accident had taken place at Kirkjufjara, which is at the west end of Reynisfjara beach. The two beaches are sometimes confused.

Ívar, who was eating lunch when the first emergency call came in, rushed to Reynisfjara where he encountered a couple with two children who were in danger in the cliffs at the east end of the beach. He tells the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service that he helped the father get the children down from the cliffs, and then proceeded to help the wife who had trouble getting down. 

Read more: Photos: Visitors continue to ignore warnings not to venture too close to the shoreline at Reynisfjara beach

"Then I hear screaming and I see the children have been taken by the waves." Ívar then jumped down,and ran to help. The father managed to grab one of the girls, but Ívar caught the other. Pulling her to safety was not easy, he tells RÚV: "I was completely submerged, and I couldn't control anything, but I managed to crawl back to land." He didn't let go of the girl, pulling her with him to safety.

Ívar stressed what everyone who is familiar with the beaches of South Iceland knows, namely that you shouldn't be deceived by the waves: "They might not look like much at first," he points out - one out of ten waves is far more powerful than the others. And every once in a while you get monster waves which crash much further up the beach than the others.

Kirkjufjara beach has been closed to the public. Reynisfjara beach, however, continues to be open.

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