Iceland Mag

6 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Nature

Photos: Visitors at Gullfoss waterfall stubbornly ignore warnings, venturing onto a closed path

By Magnús Sveinn Helgason

  • Chain link fences and warning signs are not enough A steady stream of visitors climbs over the fence closing off a dangerous walking path to Gullfoss waterfall in South Iceland. Photo/Magnús Kristjánsson - Facebook

Many tour guides and members of the Icelandic tourism industry fear that Gullfoss waterfall could become the next scene for a serious accident to take place at popular tourist destinations in Iceland. Visitors keep ignoring warning signs posted by the waterfall, venturing down a dangerous walking path which has been closed due to ice for the winter.

Read more: Traveller swept to sea in Reynisfjara beach found dead

Travellers ignore path closing at Gullfoss
How not to travel with children Travellers ignore path closing at Gullfoss, Photo/Unnur María Bergsveinsdóttir - Facebook

Photographs of visitors climbing over a chain-link fence which closes the waterfall have been shared in a Facebook group dedicated to discussions about tourism in Iceland. Some photographs even show families with young children crossing the fence so they can walk down the closed path. The path is covered with ice. A tour guide interviewed by the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV said the scene shown in the photographs was an everyday occurrence. Many travellers refused to listen to warnings, and it was difficult to explain to people they should respect the closings when others did not.

Another tour guide interviewed by RÚV said that he has repeatedly witnessed people walking right to the edge of the cliff by the canyon to get a better view of the waterfall, never mind that to do that they first have to climb over the chain link fence closing off the path, and then leave the closed off path, which is roped off to ensure people do not venture too close to the edge of the cliff. He points out that the paths, as well as the edges of the canyon are all covered in ice during the winter, making them extremely slippery.

Read more: In an effort to avoid future tragedies a permanent guard to be posted on Reynsfjara beach

Strong gusts of wind, which are common in the canyon, can easily knock people down, especially when they don’t have a secure footing. “If anything goes wrong you could say it is really god’s grace and good luck which make the difference between life and death, keeping the traveller from the canyon below,” he added.

On Sunday afternoon the Police in South Iceland had closed off the dangerous path with more prominent tape in an effort to convince people to respect the warnings.

Police closes walking path by Gullfoss
Closed by Police order Seeing the regular warning signs and chain-link fence weren't enough to convince people the police showed up to close the path off with bright yellow tape. Photo/Sigurður Bjarki Ólafsson - Facebook

 

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