No communications in an avalanche zone

The operation was not finished until 4 AM.

The operation was not finished until 4 AM. Photo/ICE-SAR Landsbjörg Rescue team

Last night, rescue teams from Þingeyri, Flateyri and Ísafjörður were called out to assist people in Dynjandisheiði. In an announcement from ICE-SAR Landsbjörg rescue team says there was a thick snowstorm with little or no visibility.

The rescue team went slowly up to the heath and from 23 o'clock they reached the cars.

The people were taken to the cars of rescue teams and at about half past twelve they started going down.

The announcement states that the journey was slow and the conditions were very challenging, “a thick snowstorm and no visibility and the convoy was going slowly one meter at a time”.

The conditions were fram from ideal with visibility close to …

The conditions were fram from ideal with visibility close to zero. Photo/ICE-SAR Landsbjörg

Twelve individuals rescued

Late that night, the group then came down from the heath, the contractor’s employees got to a inside a house at Mjólká, while three passengers were given a ride by a rescue team into Þingeyri, where they were provided with accommodation.

In total, these were twelve individuals who were assisted down by from Dynjandisheiði and the operation was finished just before 4 AM.

“It was very challenging, with a few hours of rounds and the visibility was almost nothing,” says Teitur Magnússon, vice chairman of the Icelandic Rescue Association.

No mobile reception or Tetra connection

The team says there is almost no communications to the outside world in a 10 kilometres area, all the way from Dynjandi waterfall and up to the heath.

“You could say that we are almost out of contact from Dynjandi to the county line, which is probably up to 10 kilometres high.

Those in charge of operations cannot see where we are and we cannot talk to anyone and are not in mobile or Tetra-connection, but the Tetra system is supposed to be called an emergency and safety communications system,” Magnússon stated, “and continues.

“For example, this route is a known avalanche area, and you don’t feel comfortable going through it when you can’t let anyone know if something happens.”

One car was parked by Dynjandi and used as a …

One car was parked by Dynjandi and used as a control center to communicate with the other cars further up on the heath. Photo/ICE-SAR Landsbjörg

He says the Rescue Society placed a car at Dynjandi waterfall yesterday and utilized it as a kind of field command center.

“We used VHF systems to call between cars and used the car at Dynjandi as an intermediary between the cars or a kind of control center.”

Lack of funds

Team says improvements were pressed in the right places, but it always stops in the tracks because of the same thing.

“We have had an excellent relationship with the Emergency Line over this, but all parties are in the same position. This is not a feasible situation, but it all strands on lack of funds.”


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