Tourists Are Injured Near Icelandic Volcanic Eruption

Three vacationers have been injured in Iceland Wednesday night time as they trekked throughout tough terrain to a volcanic eruption drawing awe-struck onlookers to its sputtering fountains of red-hot lava, a spokeswoman for Iceland’s civil safety company mentioned.

The accidents, together with a damaged ankle, weren’t critical, however they underscored the dangers that vacationers face attempting to hike to the lava flowing from the Fagradalsfjall volcano in southwest Iceland, the spokeswoman, Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, mentioned in an interview on Thursday.

“We tell people that, even though we know it’s spectacular and there’s nothing like it, we have to be careful, and we have to be prepared before we go,” Ms. Gudmundsdottir mentioned.

The hike to and from the world, she mentioned, takes about 5 hours and, for the reason that volcano erupted final yr, could contain crossing lava that’s nonetheless fragile and scorching beneath the floor. Officers have additionally warned of sudden gasoline air pollution close to the eruption web site.

“We are trying to tell people it’s not just a walk in the park,” Ms. Gudmundsdottir mentioned. “People have to be careful and in good clothes and good shoes. We are trying to tell that to both Icelanders and our foreign friends.”

The vacationer with a damaged ankle was taken by helicopter to a hospital, Ms. Gudmundsdottir mentioned. The opposite two have been helped off the volcano in automobiles, she mentioned.

Ms. Gudmundsdottir mentioned she anticipated extra vacationers to reach within the coming days, particularly after darkish, when the fiery lava will be seen in opposition to Iceland’s night time sky.

“We don’t know how many people have been there, but we know it is many, and we know the next days, it will be more,” she mentioned. “We know we can’t say, ‘Stay away.’ We are not locking the place.”

The lava started flowing on Wednesday from a floor fissure round Fagradalsfjall, close to the city of Grindavik on the Reykjanes peninsula, the Icelandic authorities mentioned in an announcement. The eruption got here after intense seismic exercise over the past a number of days, the assertion mentioned.

The federal government mentioned that the eruption was thought of to be “relatively small” and that the danger to populated areas and significant infrastructure was low. Fissure eruptions don’t often lead to giant explosions or important columns of ash flying into the stratosphere, the assertion mentioned.

However the authorities mentioned it was nonetheless advising folks to not go to the location. The eruption web site “is a dangerous area and conditions can change quickly,” the Division of Civil Safety and Emergency Administration mentioned in an announcement on Thursday.

It warned that poisonous gasoline can accumulate when the wind decreases, that new lava fountains can open with little warning and that accumulating lava can stream rapidly throughout the bottom.

The fissure is about 9 miles from a serious transportation hub, Keflavik Airport, and about 16 miles from the Reykjavik metropolitan space, the federal government mentioned.

“We’ve been expecting an eruption somewhere in this area since the series of earthquakes started last weekend,” Katrin Jakobsdottir, Iceland’s prime minister, mentioned in an announcement. “We will of course continue to monitor the situation closely and now we also benefit from the experience gained from last year’s eruption.”

There’s a lengthy historical past of volcanic exercise in Iceland, which has greater than 30 lively volcanoes. The nation straddles two tectonic plates, that are divided by an undersea mountain chain that oozes molten scorching rock, or magma. Quakes happen when the magma pushes by way of the plates.

Keflavik Airport mentioned on its web site on Thursday that there have been no disruptions to arriving or departing flights.

Icelandair additionally sought to reassure passengers that its flights had not been disrupted because it promoted the volcanic eruption on Fb, writing on Wednesday that “Iceland’s summer just got hotter!” It included a hyperlink to a livestream of the eruption web site.