Massive search launched after Belgian kayaker disappears on Iceland’s largest lake
Tuesday, 13 August 2019
A Belgian kayaker (not pictured) disappeared in Thingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland. Credit: Google Street View
Police in Iceland are searching for a Belgian traveller who vanished on a lake on Saturday during a solo kayaking trip.
Björn Debecker, 41, was last seen in a camping site near Thingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in the country.
He spent the night there and is presumed to have fallen into the icy cold waters of the lake after embarking on a kayaking trip alone, according to Het Nieuwsblad.
A resident of the Flemish town of Haasrode, near Leuven, where he works as an engineer, Debecker’s disappearance was reported after his kayak was found on the southern shore of the lake on Saturday afternoon.
Debecker’s backpack was still on board and local police reportedly found his identity documents inside.
A massive search operation was deployed at the weekend after his disappearance was reported, which saw 70 members of the local police, a helicopter and a trained police dog scour the lake’s 84 square-kilometre surfaces.
On Monday, local police said the search had to be suspended on Sunday due to strong winds and difficult weather conditions.
Authorities are reportedly considering sending specialised divers to explore an electric power plant near the lake, located in the southwest of Iceland.
According to Nieuwsblad, Debecker’s family were alerted of his disappearance on Sunday, and they said to have last heard from him on Saturday.