Iceland crash: Family of Britons killed in crash 'horrified'

  • Published
Photo of scene in IcelandImage source, Adolf Ingi Erlingsson
Image caption,
The accident took place on a bridge over the area of Núpsvötn on Iceland's ring road

The family of two British sisters-in-law and a baby girl who died in a car crash while on holiday in Iceland have called it a "horrifying shock".

In a statement, they said they were "deeply saddened" by what had happened.

The tourists were in a Toyota Land Cruiser when it crashed through the railing of a bridge on Thursday.

The women are believed to be Rajshree and Khushboo Laturia. The baby is understood to be Rajshree's daughter Shreeprabha, born this year.

Police - who have not officially released the names of those involved - said the women were with their husbands, Shreeraj and Supreme Laturia.

The two families were travelling around Iceland together when their car left the bridge and fell eight metres onto a river bank.

The two men and two other children aged seven and nine were also seriously hurt in the crash and all four were airlifted to hospital.

The baby who died was less than a year old and travelling in a car seat.

'Space to grieve'

In a statement released on Friday evening, the family said: "The fatal car crash near Skaftafell in Iceland on the morning of December 27, 2018 has come as a horrifying shock for the entire family and friends.

"The Indian, British and Icelandic authorities have been extremely co-operative and extended appropriate support.

"Our family is deeply saddened so we request you to kindly respect our privacy and give us the space to grieve in peace at this difficult time."

The Indian Ambassador to Iceland said relatives from India would be travelling to Iceland.

The accident happened at around 9:30 GMT on Thursday on Iceland's national ring road - also known as Route 1 - in an area called Núpsvötn, between the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur and Skaftafell.

The area is a popular destination for tourists, and the families were heading east on the road towards the Vatnajökull National Park - which is home to the largest glacier in Europe as well as waterfalls and mountains.

Police said tests had shown the driver of the car had not been drinking alcohol.

"The cause of the accident is unknown and under investigation by the police and the investigative committee for transport accidents," officers added.

"The car was driven to the east, along the Sudurlandsvegur road, and seems to have turned on the bridge with the result that it went on top of the railing of the bridge, to the right, following it for a short distance and then turned over off the rail and the bridge.

"There, the car fell down on the ground beneath the bridge."

Chief Superintendent Sveinn Kristjan Runarsson said the road was not thought to have been icy, but humidity could have made the bridge's surface - which is made of steel - slippery.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
A police car blocks off part of Route 1 on Thursday

One of the first people on the scene was tour guide Adolf Erlingsson, who told BBC News he believed the driver had lost control.

Describing the bank that the car fell down onto, Mr Erlingsson said: "It's kind of sandy, there's no rivers so it wasn't submerged in water. It just landed there on a sandy bottom and flipped over and was totally destroyed," he said.

He added that he got out of his van and went to see if he could help emergency services.

"The car was a total wreck. When I got there four people were out of the car, one of them deceased. Then there were three people trapped in the car.

"The driver was alive and trapped more or less under the dashboard. We were trying to get the people out of the car and helping them, it was a very difficult situation."