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Iceland: Tourists flee from wave caused by calving glacier

VIDEO shows visitors running for their lives

It may be an amazing sight, but a calving glacier is not something you want to get too close to.


Just ask this bunch of tourists who recently got an up-close (and almost too personal) look at parts of Iceland’s Breiðamerkurjökull glacier collapsing into Jökulsárlón lagoon. 


While taking in the surroundings and the calving from a nearby beach, the visitors were suddenly forced to run as waves caused by the fallen ice created huge waves. 



Tour operator Stephen Mantler caught the incident on film, telling RUV national public broadcasting that that the tourists “were not scared, but rather very excited”.


In an email toAccuWeather, Mr Mantler said, "everybody in the area was briefed by their guide that if a collapse happens they must leave the beach and search [for] higher ground immediately, which is exactly what happened." 


He added that, “while calvings are fairly frequent at this time of the year, this was an extraordinarily large event and much closer to the shore than usual, which is why it was such a close call."


"In the end, most importantly, nobody got hurt or even wet."


While Mantler boasts of the number of calvings he’s caught on camera, MP Ari Trausti Guðmundsson wrote on the Facebook page of the Left-Green Movement of the South Iceland constituency that this was “a most serious event” not to be taken lightly.      


“One must never sail near a calving glacier,” he remarked, “and one must not walk or stay on the shore near the edge of such a glacier.” 


According to the Iceland Monitor, Mr Ari Trausti said the incident raised questions about information given to tourists as well as where and when to limit access to such areas. 


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 2 April 2019

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