Three vacationers have been injured in Iceland Wednesday evening 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 stated.
The accidents, together with a damaged ankle, weren’t critical, however they underscored the dangers that vacationers face making an attempt to hike to the lava flowing from the Fagradalsfjall volcano in southwest Iceland, the spokeswoman, Hjordis Gudmundsdottir, stated 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 stated.
The hike to and from the realm, she stated, takes about 5 hours and, for the reason that volcano erupted final 12 months, might contain crossing lava that’s nonetheless fragile and sizzling beneath the floor. Officials have additionally warned of sudden fuel air pollution close to the eruption website.
“We are trying to tell people it’s not just a walk in the park,” Ms. Gudmundsdottir stated. “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 stated. The different two have been helped off the volcano in autos, she stated.
Ms. Gudmundsdottir stated she anticipated extra vacationers to reach within the coming days, particularly after darkish, when the fiery lava could be seen towards Iceland’s evening 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 stated. “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 stated in a statement. The eruption got here after intense seismic exercise during the last a number of days, the assertion stated.
The authorities stated that the eruption was thought-about to be “relatively small” and that the chance to populated areas and important infrastructure was low. Fissure eruptions don’t normally end in massive explosions or vital columns of ash flying into the stratosphere, the assertion stated.
But the federal government stated it was nonetheless advising folks to not go to the positioning. The eruption website “is a dangerous area and conditions can change quickly,” the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management stated in a statement on Thursday.
It warned that poisonous fuel can accumulate when the wind decreases, that new lava fountains can open with little warning and that accumulating lava can circulation shortly throughout the bottom.
The fissure is about 9 miles from a significant transportation hub, Keflavik Airport, and about 16 miles from the Reykjavik metropolitan space, the federal government stated.
“We’ve been expecting an eruption somewhere in this area since the series of earthquakes started last weekend,” Katrin Jakobsdottir, Iceland’s prime minister, stated 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 is an extended historical past of volcanic exercise in Iceland, which has greater than 30 energetic volcanoes. The nation straddles two tectonic plates, that are divided by an undersea mountain chain that oozes molten sizzling rock, or magma. Quakes happen when the magma pushes by means of the plates.
Keflavik Airport stated 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 Facebook, writing on Wednesday that “Iceland’s summer just got hotter!” It included a link to a livestream of the eruption website.