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Pink PageThe woman who accidentally got lost and joined the searchers

The woman who accidentally got lost and joined the searchers


In the summer of 2012, tourists flocked to the country and poured dollars, yen, euros and pounds into the treasury. A total of 660,000 tourists visited the volcanic island that year, straining tourist attractions, police and rescue teams, who were constantly on the lookout for ill-equipped adventurers.

The woman disappears

One morning at the end of August this year, a bus full of foreign tourists stopped at Eldgjá in Skaftártunguhreppi. Among the passengers was a young Asian woman who left the car with other tourists to take in the stunning natural beauty. The woman, on the other hand, did not return to the bus as the journey was to continue. The driver waited more than an hour, but as the young woman could not be found, he informed the police and then continued on his way.

Action was taken immediately, rescue teams were called and a description of the woman was sent. In it, it was stated that she was of Asian origin, was about 160 centimeters tall, wore dark clothes and spoke good English, according to the police report. She was thought to be in her 20s to 30s, carried a small, light-colored side bag, and appeared to be traveling alone.

It has not been ruled out that the woman was driven in another car in the area, and the public has been asked to provide information of this nature.

Rescue teams and a helicopter

The Stjarnan rescue team from Skaftártunga started searching the area at noon, both by car and quad bike, and explored all the paths around and up the river, but without success. All units in Rangárvalla and Vestur Skaftafell counties were then called to the search, as well as the nearby police station.

The search failed. It was as if the earth had swallowed up the young woman.

Over time, people had to call in a helicopter to help with the search, and the Coast Guard was contacted and asked for help. On the other hand, there was fog in the search area and visibility at worst, so it was not considered appropriate to send the helicopter away.

The rescuers and the police continued the search relentlessly until 3 o’clock in the evening and by then it had lasted 15 hours without interruption. In total, more than 50 rescuers took part in the search.

search for itself

The search was halted when it became clear that the missing woman was not lost at all, if at all. She had sat most discreetly in front of everyone on the bus and, among other things, had participated in the search with other tourists who wanted to help out.

She, on the other hand, hadn’t realized she was looking for herself.

The traveler who was looking for herself became news not only in Iceland but all over the world. US news channel CBS covered the issue on its website, as did TIME and the New York Daily News. Then there was a rather detailed discussion of the case with diagrams on the website of the British newspaper Daily Mail.

Several unfortunate reasons must have led to this sad incident. This includes the fact that the woman was traveling alone, had changed and made up in the toilet before boarding the bus, and therefore her fellow travelers did not recognize her. In addition, human error had caused the bus to be miscounted and, in addition, the woman had not recognized the description of herself sent to the media, among others.

The woman’s name and nationality were never revealed, but hopefully the trip to Iceland was a pleasant one for her.

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