Having returned home after an extremely painful holiday on Nisyros,
I would like to give you a personal account of the accident I had on the
15th of May 2004 on Nisyros.
I went up to the volcano with my husband and our two daughters aged 4 and 3
on one of the volcano buses. My husband and the children stayed
above the Stephanos crater and I went down alone, taking our video camera
with me. At the little path down to the crater, which every
visitor has to take, there was not a single warning notice. Only the
board near the bus station gives a general warning to be careful down in
the crater, especially near the water holes. Down on the crater floor I
passed the boiling water holes from the right-hand side, as did all the
other visitors. Only around the boiling water holes some areas were marked
as dangerous areas by rope, some of which had been torn down. I filmed the pools and
interesting-looking sulphur fumaroles at the edge of the crater. When I
had finished filming, I continued walking to the area just opposite the
little path down to the crater. I had walked just a few metres when
suddenly my left leg crashed through the crater floor, making a new
hole, from which steam escaped. I fell in up to my knee, and was lucky
because the floor under my right knee and my right hand was firm enough to
allow me to climb out within a matter of seconds. The steam coming out
of the new hole burned my leg, and my knee was surrounded by hot mud.
The crater's surface I crashed through looked very thin, perhaps less than
10 cm. There was no possibility I could have anticipated the danger,
because there were no holes in this area - the nearest was several
metres away. It was like a trap.
If you want to prevent accidents like mine, it’s not enough just to warn
visitors to be careful. In my opinion, you need to put up a notice right
there at the start of the little path down, which all visitors have to
take. It should warn them not to walk on the crater floor. As a result
of my accident in the crater, I sustained second-degree burns all around
my left leg from the top of the sock to the knee. The stout sports shoes and
socks I was wearing protected my foot from injury. I thought that I was
experienced enough, and knew the volcano and the dangers of the floor
well enough, to avoid mishap. After all, I have visited the island and
the crater 11 times since 1989. You can imagine my shock at breaking
through a thin surface in an area that looked completely safe, with no
indication of any danger.
Thanks to very good medical treatment I received on Nisyros, I was able
to continue my 3 weeks holidays on Nisyros, although I was in a lot of pain.
I count myself lucky that I was wearing stout shoes, that there was no
water in the hidden hole, and that the hole was not wider. In my opinion, the
crater floor has changed so much that it has become too dangerous for
visitors to be allowed to walk on it.
Many Nisyrians know me, because my husband and I made the GPS walking
map of Nisyros, and because the twice distributions of cotton shopping
bags among the Nisyrians.
With best wishes to you and to your beautiful island,
Beate Franke from Germany/Stuttgart
zurück zur Nisyros-Seite
back to the Nisyros-page