Iceland Mag

5 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Two month sentence for causing fatal accident at Jökulsárlón too lenient, victim's husband argues

By Staff

  • Jökulsárlón Safety procedures at the lagoon were tightened following the accident. Photo/Valli

The husband of a Canadian woman who died in a tragic accident at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon complains that the captain of the amphibious sightseeing vehicle who caused the accident received a far too lenient a sentence. The captain received a two month suspended sentence for unintentional manslaughter.

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

Michael Boyd, who lost his wife in the August 2015 accident, told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið that he cannot understand how the lenient sentence can be justified. He also complains that the authorities and courts have taken far too long to handle the case, almost two and a half years. 

Gross negligence


amphibious vehicle Jökulsárlón

The amphibious vehicle The vehicle backed over the woman who was pronounced dead at the scene. Photo/Vísir

The captain of the sightseeing boat, who was just 22 years old when the accident took place, 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. He also lacked proper certification to operate the vehicle.

Michael Boyd told Morgunblaðið that he didn't understand why the company had not been charged with criminal negligence.

Mitigating factors led to a reduced sentence
The ruling of the District Court of East Iceland, which was published yesterday, reveals that the judge did in fact take the negligence of the company into account, viewing it as a mitigating factor in favor of the captain. 

Other factors which the judge took into account were the young age of the defendant at the time of the accident and his mental state since the tragic event. A statement from the man's psychologist confirmed that he had suffered mental anguish as a consequence of the accident, and that he has suffered greatly since the event.

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