Fuel tanker crashes in Iceland, leaks into sea

There was a significant risk of explosion alongside an Icelandic fjord this morning where a petrol tanker skidded off the road and began leaking its cargo over the tarmac and into the sea.

The accident took place overnight on the shores of Hestfjörður in the southern part of the Ísafjarðardjúp fjord system in the Westfjords, not far from the towns of Súðavík and Ísafjörður.

The Shell fuel tanker, carrying 39,000 litres of petrol, span two or three times on the icy road and its trailer went off the road, dragging the cab down on top of it.

The driver escaped with minor injuries and was taken to hospital in Ísafjörður for examination. The tank did not rupture in the crash, but petroleum soon started leaking out of vents on top and down into the sea.

The road was quickly sealed off and all available fire engines and ambulances were sent to the scene, along with a crane and three other oil tankers with the ability to pump fuel out of the stricken vehicle.

The Icelandic Roads Administration covered the area in sand and fire crews covered the truck in foam before being able to remove the cab, and with it the biggest explosion risk.

The pumping operation began just before 07.00 and took roughly an hour, after which the crane was able to pull the tank trailer back onto the road and remove it.

According to fire fighters it was extremely lucky the lorry did not crash off the road the other side, over the rock wall and into the water below.

The road was closed for several hours but has since re-opened. Experts are on the scene, but it is still not clear how much fuel leaked out.

(Photo: Hafþór Gunnarsson // BB.is)