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Screenshot from the video by Stephen Mantler

Tourists in Iceland escape glacier’s waves

A group of tourists ran for their lives as huge waves approached the shore in the Breiðamerkurlón glacial lagoon.

A group of tourists narrowly escaped huge waves triggered by a calving glacier in southeast Iceland on Sunday, the news site mbl.is reports, illustrating the dangers posed to people visiting glaciers in the hope of witnessing such events.

No one was injured this time as the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier calved into Breiðamerkurlón glacial lagoon, but the tourists ran for their lives as the large icy waves rapidly approached the shore.

The event was filmed by Stephen Mantler who works for the travel company Háfjall, which organises visits to ice caves, glaciers, hiking and photography tours.

Such big waves are a rare sight in the lagoon, he told the national broadcaster RÚV, but he stressed that the tourists were well informed about the chance of waves and what to do.

“They were not scared but rather very excited,” he said. The film can be seen here.

Restricting access
However, Ari Trausti Guðmundsson, a geologist, politician and former presidential candidate, reacted by posting a warning on the Facebook page of the Left-Green Movement.

“This is a most serious event,” he wrote. “One must never sail near a calving glacier and one must not walk or stay on the shore near the edge of such a glacier.”

He says he is especially worried about people who venture out on the ice near the mouth of the river Jökulsá á Dal when it is windy and the surf is high.

He adds that the recent event raises questions about the information that is provided to tourists, and about when and where to restrict access.

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