Iceland bridge car crash: Three British tourists including child killed.
Three British tourists including a child have been killed after a 4×4 crashed while crossing a bridge in Iceland.
Four other people, including two children, were critically injured during the incident, which occurred at about 9.30am on Thursday, when the vehicle drove through a barrier on the one-lane bridge at Skeiðarársandur in the south of the country, Icelandic police said. The car landed on a riverbank.
Those involved in the crash are from two British families. Police confirmed that one child was among the dead and two, aged seven and nine, among the injured.
Adolf Erlingsson, a tour guide who was among the first on the scene, said: “It was horrible. The car seemed to have hit the ground many metres from where it stopped. We struggled getting everyone out.”
Erlingsson estimated the car had fallen about five or six metres from the bridge and said it was a “total wreck” when he arrived at the scene.
“The driver must have lost control somehow and it went through the railing,” said Erlingsson, a former broadcaster. He said the vehicle had flipped over on to sandy ground, missing a river.
“Conditions were quite good, maybe a bit wet. It was just about freezing, but I didn’t detect any ice on the road,” he said. Erlingsson described how he and others had to cut the driver out of the wreckage using a winch from another vehicle. “The driver was alive and trapped more or less under the dashboard. We were trying to get the people out of the car and helping them. It was a very difficult situation.”
He said three people were trapped in the car when he arrived and he believed that two of them were dead. A number of others were outside and were semi-conscious.
The vehicle involved was a rented seven-person Toyota Land Cruiser, which careered off the bridge over the Núpsvötn river, according to the reports. Erlingsson said the crash occurred in an area that was “the most popular destination on the south coast”.
It happened just south of Skaftafell national park, part of the wider Vatnajökull national park, which was nominated for inclusion in Unesco’s world heritage list this year.
Images taken at the scene showed emergency personnel giving medical assistance on rocky ground beneath the bridge. As well as local police, two helicopters were called from a coastguard station while another flew from Reykjavik.
The bridge where the crash took place was built in 1973 and is one of the longest in the country.
Of the 18 people who have died in traffic accidents in Iceland this year, half have been foreign nationals. Last year was the first on record when more foreigners died than residents, according to figures from the Icelandic Transport Authority.
The UK’s Foreign Office advises visitors to Iceland to take particular care when driving on gravel and loose surfaces. It says distances between towns can be great and driving can take longer than expected.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of several British nationals who were involved in a road traffic accident in Iceland and are in close contact with the Icelandic authorities.”