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Authorities rescue hiker attempting to reach erupting volcano in Iceland

Authorities in Iceland have issued a strong warning after rescuing a hiker who attempted to reach the volcanic eruption near Grindavík.

Police called in a helicopter on Tuesday, December 19, to rescue a hiker who became “exhausted, cold, and shocked” halfway to the volcanic eruption near Grindavík. Reaching the site is described as “extremely challenging,” taking an experienced hiker between four and five hours to complete.

Authorities say they hope people will “think four times” before embarking on a similar expedition, particularly during the holidays.

“We want emergency responders such as rescue workers to be able to stay at home during the holidays,” they added.

According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, the volcanic eruption started approximately 2.5 miles northeast of Grindavík at around 10:15 p.m. local time on Monday, December 18.

A series of earthquakes occurred around 9 p.m. in the coastal area on the same day, creating what was described as a “swarm.”

The IMO stated the eruption originated from the “dyke intrusion that formed in November.” In the same month, intense seismic activity led to the evacuation of thousands of residents, per the Associated Press.

The fissure is about 2.5 miles long, extending from just east of Stóra-Skógfell to just east of Sundhnúk.

Though the eruption appears to be slowing down, residents who had to evacuate the area won’t be able to return home in time for Christmas.

“Unfortunately, the hope that had ignited in the hearts of many about the possibility of celebrating Christmas at home in Grindavík was extinguished when the eruption began yesterday,” mayor Fannar Jónasson said in a statement.

According to a report, some residents briefly returned to their homes on Thursday, December 21, to assess the situation and retrieve belongings. Thorsteinn Einarsson, a 65-year-old plumber, mentioned that some homes “are not okay.”

But even though that’s the case, Einarsson has no intention of abandoning the life he has built in Iceland. “My future is here,” he explained. “I will be here, and my kids will be here, and we are going to do everything we can to make this town good again.”


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