The wave was triggered Sunday by a glacier in Vatnajökull National Park

By Rachel DeSantis
April 02, 2019 01:48 PM

A group of tourists exploring a glacial lake in Iceland were forced to run to safety Sunday after chunks of ice broke off a nearby glacier, spurring a massive wave.

The visitors were standing on ice when the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier in Vatnajökull National Park did what’s known as calving, according to tour guide company Háfjall’s Facebook page. Calving is when large pieces of ice break off glaciers and fall into the water.

Stephan Mantler, co-owner of Háfjall, captured the stunning footage on video and shared it to Facebook.

A glacier in Iceland
| Credit: Elisa Vendramin/SSPL/Getty

In the clip, the ice falls, prompting a big splash that quickly settles. All seems calm until the wave builds and ultimately crashes over the area where the tourists had just been standing.

“Everybody who goes down there is briefed by their guides what to do in the event of a calving, but that was both exceptionally large and very close which made it a closer call than usual,” Mantler wrote on Facebook.

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He added that all of the tourists seen on camera were safe and accounted for.

The tour company, meanwhile, added the area is only reached by tourists traveling with guides who know how and when to instruct them to safety pending a possible calving.

Mantler frequently films similar occurrences and wrote that he has “gained a reputation for being in the right spot at the right time” to catch the phenomenon multiple times on camera.