Ágúst Ingi Kjartansson specializes in mountaineering and teaches whitewater rescue at ICE-SAR. He focuses on rescuing vehicles from the water, escaping currents and fast water and rope rescue. He is a member of Björgunarfélag Árborgar - a rescue team in Selfoss, which focuses on the Ölfusá River.
This is his story.
What does "never give up" mean to Gusti?
During our missions, but also within our community, there are many moments when giving up is not an option.
We often have to start our search operations under miserable conditions, such as freezing wind and sub-zero temperatures. But duty calls and you just have to get out at that moment. I remember December 25, 2015 when the call came at 1am. We had a missing person on the Ölfusá River, the empty car was found right next to it. Footsteps led to a ledge. It was about -7 degrees and the river was frozen in places, so we had to start our search on foot. Later that night we found a spot that wasn't frozen. The inflow of the warm Selfoss sewer prevented the river from freezing here. After a short while, all of our equipment stank and splashes of water immediately froze on our suits as we kept searching.
Such a search can sometimes take a few days, which is very tiring. Sleep is often neglected here, as there are not enough trained helpers who are allowed to drive a motor boat. But giving up is never an option.
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