Iceland Rescue

BBC World Service

Slysavarnafélagið Landsbjörg (Ice-SAR) is the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue.

A peerless national emergency militia with a mythical reputation in Iceland, its elite volunteers (all unpaid) are well trained, well equipped, self-funded and self-organising.

Paul Smith heads to the Icelandic Highlands during the high tourist season to find out how Ice-SAR volunteers respond to the enormous strain on their services and new challenges on an increasingly popular island. They must brave one of the toughest and most changeable climates in the world to rescue people (and bodies) from gorges and crevices. They release cars stuck in glacial lakes and save tourists caught in avalanches.

He discovers that Ice-SAR’s operation illustrates the strength and resourcefulness of the national character in a country where disaster and calamity is a regular occurrence.

Produced by Paul Smith

Broadcast: Winter 2016