Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


Yesterday's storm: Search and Rescue units assist passengers in stranded buses on Ring Road

By Staff

  • ICE-SAR Search and Rescue units had to help the travellers from the buses and to a safe spot where other buses could pick them up. Photo/Ernir

Yesterday the Ring Road crossing the Central Highlands between East and North Iceland was closed due to severe weather. A travel warning was also issued by ICE-SAR for South East and East Iceland, warning people not to travel in the region due to the storm. Travel in the entire region from Mývatn lake in North Iceland to Skaftafell National Park in South Iceland was in effect unsafe due to the severe weather. 

Buses in trouble, Svartfell Langadal

Blown off the road Yesterday's storm left three buses stranded by Svartfell farm in Langadalur valley. Photo/Loftmyndir

Read more: Ring Road in North East Iceland closed due to storm

Police told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service that there are always a some travellers who ignore warnings and drive around roadblocks which are set up to close impassable roads. The three buses, however, had entered the heath before the IRCA had issued its warning closing the stretch of the Ring Road.

Yesterday's storm warnings were fully warranted. 
Individual wind gusts in the region reached hurricane force, with the wind repeatedly topping 40 m/s (89 mph). 

Search and Rescue units from North Iceland had to assist foreign travellers who were stuck in tour buses on Möðrudalsöræfi heath. The local news site Vísir reports that two of the buses crashed into one another when they met on the road. The wind, which was at least 30 m/s (68 mph), made driving conditions extremely difficult, effectively blowing the two buses into one another. A third bus was blown off the road.

No injuries, but travellers were cold and tired
None of the 62 passengers in the buses were hurt, but they were stuck on the heath. One of the windows in one of the buses broke, which allowed the storm to blow sleet and snow into the bus. When the travellers were rescued by ICE-SAR units they had been stuck in the snow in freezing temperatures for a while. The rescue operations proceeded slowly due to the weather, a spokesman for ICE-SAR told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið

Hundreds of travellers were stranded in Egilsstaðir town. In addition to the Ring Road to North Iceland being closed due to the weather the road to Seyðisfjörður town was closed. 

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