SPOT Saves

Read our featured rescue stories

Stranded on the roof of a Land Rover in a river in Iceland


adventure image


At the end of October 2015, Overleven Survival School based in the Netherlands organised a trip for 19 Dutch adventurers to a remote part of south east Iceland travelling in five modified Land Rover Defender 4x4s.

While one of the Land Rovers was midway across a fast-flowing river of glacier water, a combination of engine failure and deep water resulted in the vehicle becoming stuck on an underwater sandbank.


The four passengers escaped through a window, got onto the roof and assessed the situation. The conditions were near freezing, the water was rising and there was no cell phone coverage. They quickly sent an SOS message using one of the team's two SPOT messengers to the International Emergency Response Agency, GEOS

The four people on the roof had managed to extract all their equipment from the vehicle so they built an improvised shelter to shelter from the cold wind and rain. They changed into warm, waterproof clothing and even made hot tea on a stove.

Following the emergency contact with GEOS, the search and rescue team kept in contact with the Overleven team using its Globalstar GSP-1700 satellite phone. It took about two hours for the search and rescue team to reach the remote location in huge, modified all-terrain vehicles. Despite the fact that the river was flowing even faster and the water was deeper than earlier, these vehicles were able to drive straight up to the stranded Land Rover and bring the four trapped adventurers safely to shore within minutes. They were given warm meals and drinks and could warm up in the rescuers' Land Rover.

A rescue helicopter also arrived and checked that everything was okay while recovery vehicles towed the stranded Land Rover out of the water.

Dennis van Dokkum of Overleven Survival School, commented, "The SPOT messenger was very useful. A couple of locals had thought SPOT wouldn't work in Iceland, but they were wrong, it worked perfectly. And as a wilderness guide and survival instructor I now can confirm that SPOT really does work. Please keep up the good work you do providing your services to those of us who enjoy the outdoors and adventure."


adventure image

adventure image

adventure image

adventure image