Iceland // The West Fjords //

The Látrabjarg rescue

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One of Iceland’s most daring sea-rescue operations occurred at Látrabjarg in December 1947, when farmers from Hvallátur set out to rescue the crew of a British trawler, the Dhoon, which had been wrecked off the rocky shoreline during a severe snowstorm. After sliding down the ice-covered cliffs by rope, the Icelanders pulled the sailors to safety using a rescue line they fired across to the stricken vessel – although it took two separate attempts to hoist all the men up the treacherous cliff face, from where they were taken by horseback to nearby farms to recover. A year later, a film crew arrived in Hvallátur to make a documentary about the accident, in which several locals were to re-enact the rescue – however, while they were filming, another British trawler, Sargon, became stranded in nearby Patreksfjörður, giving the film makers a chance to catch a drama on film for real.

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