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Captain of sightseeing boat found guilty of manslaughter in fatal accident at Jökulsárlón

By Staff

  • Jökulsárlón The tragic accident took place in the summer of 2015. Photo/Zoe

The captain of a sightseeing boat at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for having caused a fatal accident in the summer of 2015, when an amphibious vehicle he was piloting backed on land, hitting and killing a Canadian woman. The local news site Vísir reports that the 24 year old man was sentenced to two months in prison. 

The man had plead his innocence. The sentence will be suspended if he keeps parole. The maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter in Iceland is six years in prison.

Read more: Captain of sightseeing boat charged with causing fatal accident at Jökulsárlón pleads innocence

amphibious vehicle Jökulsárlón

The amphibious vehicle The vehicle involved in the accident. Photo/Vísir

The man was charged with having backed the amphibious vehicle on land without first ensuring there was nobody standing behind the vehicle. One of the rear view mirrors on the vehicle was missing and a rear-facing camera which should have shown the clearance behind the vehicle wasn't working. The man also lacked proper certification to operate the vehicle.

The man's lawyer argued that the accident hadn't been caused by his criminal negligence, arguing that the victim had failed to show proper caution. The court rejected this defense, finding the captain responsible for the accident.

Didn't hear the vehicle approaching
The woman was travelling in South and South East Iceland with her family when the tragic accident took place. According to the official report on the accident the family was watching a helicopter land by Jökulsárlón lagoon when one of the sightseeing boats on the lagoon suddenly backed up on the shore. Due to the noise from the helicopter the group didn't hear the boat approaching. 

The captain's lawyer argued that the family was standing in a restricted area where amphibious vehicles operated, and that they should have been aware of the danger they were putting themselves in. By not paying attention to their surroundings the people had show negligence which made the woman partially to blame for the accident.  

When the boat hit the family the woman and her husband fell over, but the man managed to scramble out of the way. The woman and landed beneath one of the wheels of the amphibious vehicle, which did not stop immediately, but drove over the woman. According to the husband's testimony the last words of his wife were "What is going on? Oh my god!"

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

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