Crews rescue 39 tourists trapped for hours on Iceland glacier

An aerial view of the Langjokull glacier in Iceland, where a group of snowmobilers became trapped Tuesday. File Photo by Johann Dréo/Wikipedia Commons 3.0

Jan. 9 (UPI) — Iceland search crews have rescued more than three dozen snowmobiling tourists from a large glacier, after they became trapped during a snowstorm, authorities said.

Thirty-nine in the snowmobiling group were on the Langjokull glacier Tuesday when the storm abruptly moved in. Weather officials, however, said storm warnings were issued for the area before the snowmobile group arrived.

Hundreds of rescuers and dozens of vehicles were dispatched to the glacier to search for the group, officials said. Despite blizzard conditions, they were ultimately located. All 39 tourists were taken to safety early Wednesday morning.

Authorities said one woman was hospitalized due to frostbite.

Icelandic Met Office meteorologist Elin Bjork Jonasdottir said the Mountaineers of Iceland tour company should have been aware of the dangerous conditions. Numerous flights and bus services were canceled because of the inclement weather.

Mountaineers of Iceland tour guide Olafur Tryggva­son said the company is “looking into the issue.”

An Australian couple sued the company in January, saying it abandoned them on the Langjokull glacier, Iceland’s second-largest ice cap, for seven hours.


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