An American grandmother unexpectedly became a Twitter star recently when she was almost swept out to sea at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon on Iceland’s south coast.
The woman, from Texas, was posing for an image on an ice throne at the Diamond beach near the Jökulsárlon glacier lagoon on February 26 when the incident occurred. Her granddaughter later received word of the incident and took to Twitter to share how hilarious she thought it was.
The woman’s granddaughter is a 24-year-old university student named Catherine Streng who currently lives in Korea. We reached out to Streng to find out more about how this all happened.
“My family has always loved to travel,” she said. “It doesn’t surprise me that my father and grandmother decided to go to Iceland. I believe they were both interested in the nature and beautiful scenery. My father actually hates the cold, but he says he really likes it there and finds it beautiful. He also loves the clean energy of the country.”
After her Grandmother had been safely returned to shore, the images had been sent to Catherine from her father along with a description of what happened.
In her father’s words, “She ascended the throne after a wave had pulled back and left it briefly exposed on the beach. Then a wave washed in and dislodged the ice throne, rocking it from side to side. When the wave retreated, it lifted the dislodged throne and carried her out with the tide.”
Catherine states that her father has a PhD in English and was an English teacher for a long time, so he’s pretty good with words.
Catherine’s grandmother was rescued by a fellow countryman. His name is Randy Lacount and is a licensed boat captain from Florida who is familiar with water strategies. Randy waded into the water and pulled Catherine’s grandmother off the iceberg before it took her out to sea.
The beaches in Iceland’s south are incredibly popular attractions for tourists, the Diamond beach in particular which gets its name from the icebergs that settle there from the Jökulsárlon glacier lagoon. They give the shoreline a jewelled appearance.
The ocean can be unpredictable and unforgiving, and quite a few times throughout the year visitors get into trouble when too close to the waves.
It should be known before anyone passes judgement on Catherine’s grandmother that at least five other people had posed for pictures on the ice throne before her, and she did ask for permission first, which was given.
Sometimes these things happen, even when conditions look safe which is why authorities in Iceland always encourage visitors to exercise caution.
We’re certainly happy that Catherine’s grandmother is safe and that she and Catherine’s father were able to enjoy the rest of their stay in Iceland.
When we asked Catherine about her reaction to receiving the images, she said, “I laughed out loud at work because that’s just so something that would happen to my family.”
Update: Just as we posted this story, Icelandic actor and guide Pétur Eggerz posted the below video of a tourist acting dangerously at Jökulsárlon. Forget don’t try this at home, don’t try this ever!