The Coast Guard’s helicopter was called out shortly before 6:00 pm on Wednesday regarding an accident at Kirkjufell mountain on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, RÚV reports. A French woman in her twenties fell from the mountain and injured herself badly, but was able to make an emergency call herself.
At the time of the call, weather conditions on and around the mountain were difficult, with snow, considerable ice, and poor visibility. As such, it was expected that it would take time and would be rather dangerous for rescuers to reach the woman. In addition to the helicopter, paramedics and a search and rescue team specially trained in mountain rescues was also called to the scene. In spite of the challenging weather conditions, however, she was rescued in under four hours.
Per a report in Skessuhorn.is, the young woman suffered both head and foot injuries after sliding down the ice-slick side of the mountain. Amazingly, she stopped sliding just a few feet shy of cliff edge; had she gone over, she would have fallen some 10 meters [33 feet] at least, undoubtedly to her death. She was very cold by the time that rescuers reached her, but they were able to get her into a helicopter and transport her to the hospital in Reykjavík.
It has only been a little over two weeks since another hiker died after a fall on the very same mountain, not to mention the hiker who died there last year. Given this, there is considerable debate among Search and Rescue members and others about whether or not there should be limits to, or even a full ban on hikers climbing Kirkjufell in the winter. It's thought that hikers often attempt the climb often without taking account of weather conditions, or having the appropriate experience, clothing, and/or gear to complete it safely. The matter is, therefore, now being transferred over to authorities for consideration.