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Avalanche at S˙­avÝk, 16 January 1995

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Early morning on 16 January 1995 an avalanche struck the center of Súðavík's residential area, taking with it fifteen houses.  In the houses were 26 people and 14 of those were killed, including 8 children, but 12 people were rescued.  The avalanche was 200 meters wide and destroyed eleven houses on Túngata, three on Nesvegur and one house on Njarðarbraut.

 

The avalanche fell at 6.25.  The locals immediately started rescue procedures and at ten o'clock the first help arrived when dozens of rescue workers, doctors and nurses arrived along with rescue dogs from Ísafjörður.  A rescue center was set up at the fast freezing plant Frosti and the inhabitants were gathered there.  In the middle of the day the coast guard's vessel Týr left from Reykjavík to Súðavík with doctors, nurses, rescue workers and supplies on board. 

 

The weather was abysmal when the avalanche fell.  The storm raged the entire time during the rescue operations and made the conditions for rescue work extremely difficult.  The specially trained rescue dogs are thought to have been crucial during the rescue and saved several lives.  A twelve year old boy was the last to be found alive 23 hours after the avalanche fell but the search was completed on the eve of 17 January.

 

In the evening of 16 January another avalanche from Traðargil struck the village and swept away three houses but there was no loss of lives.

 

On Sunday 18 December the same winter another avalanche fell from Traðargil and destroyed the farm Saura but an elderly hermit was rescued alive from the avalanche. 

Vefumsjˇn