‘We Pray this does not Happen Again’

Part of the group of 39, waiting for rescue workers.

Part of the group of 39, waiting for rescue workers. Photo/Katia Kuwabara

Vala Hafstað

“[We] pray this does not happen again,” state David and Gail Wilson, an Australian couple , who three years ago were left stranded for seven hours on Langjökull glacier, while on a snowmobile trip, organized by Mountaineers of Iceland. Rescue workers found them after hours of searching. They subsequently successfully sued the company.

They contacted Iceland Monitor , following reports of 39 tourists having been stranded on the same glacier January 7, during a snowmobile trip organized by the same company - Mountaineers of Iceland. A yellow weather alert was in effect in every part of Iceland that day, and the Met Office had posted on its website that travel conditions in the highlands were dangerous.

David and Gail Wilson, during a RÚV interview.

David and Gail Wilson, during a RÚV interview. Screenshot/RÚV

It took 300 rescue workers in 57 vehicles and almost 12 hours to rescue the group of 39 from the glacier, where they were caught in a blizzard and stranded for about seven hours before the company requested help from rescue workers. The CEO of the company subsequently explained that unforeseen delays during the trip and the company’s broken equipment had led to the unfortunate events.

Part of the group of 39, waiting for rescue workers.

Part of the group of 39, waiting for rescue workers. Photo/Katia Kuwabara

Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have given Iceland Monitor permission to publish their letter, which is as follows:

“We have been following the story of the recently stranded 39 tourists and cannot believe this company has done this again. It has really distressed us.

We read one of your articles reporting on Ms. Kuwabara from Brazil who states ‘I want as many people as possible to hear our story so this kind of thing won’t happen again.’ That is precisely why we took the matter all the way to the Icelandic courts. We were told compensation would not be great but we couldn’t just let this go by and have other people affected in the future. The company would not admit liability and tried to blame us, but we were determined to stop this happening to anyone else. And it did happen again!

If this happened in Australia there would be an investigation of the company. Why have weather warnings if they can just be ignored? We don’t want to delve right into the case as that is obviously something for the Icelandic people to do themselves, but we really feel for all the 39 who were stranded and understand how scared they would have been. This will affect them for a long time. We do though reiterate what Ms Kuwabara said, and pray this does not happen again.

We cannot thank the Icelandic search and rescue volunteers and the kind people of Iceland enough though.

Kind regards,

David and Gail Wilson”

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