U.S. visitor missing in Iceland believed dead

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A U.S. tourist last seen Sept. 10 beginning a trek through the Icelandic highlands is believed to be dead, police say.

Nathan Foley Mendelssohn was reported missing at the end of September by relatives in the United States, Iceland Review reported. His rental car was discovered Saturday in southern Iceland.


Mendelssohn had been planning to hike from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork. His companions said he decided to forge ahead after they decided to give up the trip because of bad weather.

The route, more than 30 miles over rough terrain, is one of Iceland's most heavily traveled. Guidebooks say the expected time is four days, and continuing on to Skogar, on the Ring Road, the highway that circles Iceland, adds more than 15 miles.

Sveinn Kristjan Runarsson, police chief in Hvolsvollur, said Monday a vigorous search that began Saturday found no trace of Mendelssohn. The missing man's family rented a helicopter to search from the air because the one used by the Iceland's coast guard was not available.

The rental car was about two weeks overdue. Sveinn said the agency had not reported it missing and suggested there had been a mixup because of the end-of-season rush of returned cars.


Mendelssohn had been living in Barcelona, Spain, News of Iceland said. Investigators believe he left the rental car in southern Iceland and traveled to Landmannalaugar by bus.

The Icelandic highlands are heavily traveled in the summer. But the season is short and the area -- most of the country -- is effectively closed to casual visitors from mid-September to June or July.

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