Iceland’s Coast Guard Rescues Man Stranded Near Volcanic Eruption Site

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John Oyewale Contributor
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Iceland’s Coast Guard rescued a man stranded a few miles off the site of a volcanic eruption Tuesday night in southwest Iceland, authorities said Wednesday.

Pilots in a small aircraft flying over the Reykjanes Peninsula spotted SOS lights around the Reykjanesbraut and notified the flight tower in Reykjavík Airport, the Icelandic Coast Guard said in a statement. The Coast Guard reportedly rustled up a helicopter squad as the airplane circled over the SOS lights so as not to lose sight of them.

“When we were getting closer, around 5 kilometers [3 miles] from the eruption, we spotted a flashlight or a light of some kind and then we spotted another one,” Ernir Snaer Bjarnason, the airplane’s pilot, said, CBS News reported. Bjarnason was flying with his friend, Finnir Snae Baldvinsoon, from Reykjavík Airport to see the ongoing eruption near Grindavík on the peninsula. “We saw that one of them was pointed directly towards us and was flashing us an emergency signal like the S.O.S. Morse code signal.”

The emergency light turned out to be from a hiker, who was then winched into a Coast Guard helicopter, the statement added.

“The man had become cold and raw after a long stay outside. When the helicopter arrived, the man said he was driving alone and said the other light sign was from his equipment that was just a little away from there,” the statement noted.

The yet-to-be-identified man was flown to a hospital in Reykjavík, CBS News reported. (RELATED: Incredible Images Of Icelandic Volcanic Eruption Overwhelm Internet)

The incident caused the authorities to warn of the many tourists drawn to the area by the spectacular view of the river of lava, the New York Times reported.

The volcanic eruption began Monday, with lava spewing out of fissures, prompting the evacuation of Grindavík, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, which had been monitoring the underground buildup of magma for days. However, the eruption and lava flow appeared to have ceased Thursday, although the lava field still glowed and authorities were wary of declaring the eruption over, the Icelandic Meteorological Office added.