Picnicking on an ice block

Something to add to your list of things not to do on holidays….

A volunteer rescue team saved four US tourists who became stranded on an ice floe in Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon after it broke loose from the shore.

Five tourists set up a table and chairs to picnic on the ice when part of the ice floe broke loose and drifted off ten metres (yards) into the water. One tourist jumped off and got help. Staff members from Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon located west of Fjallsárlón were despatched with a boat to rescue the tourists back.

They found the remaining tourists “sitting on the chairs around a table, on a piece of floating ice” (rescuer Páll Sigurður Vignisson).


The rescue team were surprised at the calmness of tourists seemingly oblivious to the possible danger of the ice floe cracking or capsizing and plunging them into the freezing waters. The group were, “not at all scared, pretty calm, laughing and joking about the whole thing, despite that they had been stuck floating for about an hour. They just didn’t realize the risks they were running. They thought they were doing something real cool.”(Vignisson)

The Police attended the scene but didn’t press charges.

There are approximately twenty serious rescue cases a year out of the 600,000 tourists who visit Iceland every year. According to RÚV reporter Björn Malmquist: “They don’t know the area, nor how to drive over a river, and they don’t know how to behave if the car gets stuck…they often either get lost on foot or driving in the highlands.”


  1. Well…. I had been that glacier lagoon, I understand why they did that and I know a lot of people tried to swim in the lagoon…

    People are crazy in Iceland, but in lovely nice way.

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