Thu 29 Aug 2019
Preparations are underway to permanently close the eastern part of Reynisfjara beach, South Iceland, according to Þorbjörg Gísladóttir, head of the Mýrdalshreppur local council, mbl.is reports. The decision comes in the wake of a landslide that occurred there August 20th.
The report below states:
Luckily, no one was injured, but the previous day a man suffered a broken skull when rocks fell from the same mountain. The area has been closed since then. Þorbjörg is convinced that landslides will continue to occur in this area.
“The conclusion of a meeting we had last week with landowners and representatives from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management was that we’d put up a chain… to close off the easternmost part of the beach, by the end of the cave, to make it obvious to everyone that this area is closed,” she states. “The most interesting part [of the beach] is to remain open – under and around the basalt columns.”
Ever since August 19, tourists have repeatedly disregarded the closure of the eastern part of the beach. The police have had to put up new police tape daily, since waves have swept the tape away. According to the law, those who disregard such closures can be issued a fine of ISK 100,000-500,000 (USD 800-4,000; EUR 720-3,600).
Two tourists were injured on the beach on August 19 by a smaller rockfall from the mountain. The large rock slide occurred one day later, on August 20. Police taped off the area impacted by the rockfall, though some tourists were recorded on video climbing up the impacted area despite the closure.
Once again this is stark evidence of tourists ignoring warnings and doing what they want to in Iceland. I’m sure there are many other tourist areas who could claim the same, but due to Iceland’s fragile environment, as well as obviously dangerous conditions on occasion, you often find that tourists put themselves in dangerous positions.