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article imageVideo: Race to escape as iceberg avalanche crashes towards boat

By Elizabeth Batt     Jul 24, 2012 in Environment
Ilulissat - All is serene and calm for three tourists in the waters of Ilulissat, Greenland, until a glacial avalanche crashes into the ocean sending a wave of water and ice hurtling towards their boat.
It takes just seconds for the crashing glacier to slam into the water with such force, that it produces a tsunami-like wave which quickly rushes towards the boat. Almost in shock at how fast it happens, the boat's captain finally dashes to start the vessel's engine as two other people head below deck.
In the panic, the trio manage to escape – just, but behind them, the once dark grey ocean is now littered with ice debris. For the small boat and its crew, it could very easily have been lights out.
The video was posted on YouTube by Jens Møller, one of the crew members who filmed the incident. Møller said:
A tourist from Australia came to my uncle and asked if she could get a ride to the glacier just north of Ilulissat, Greenland, so he asked me if I wanted to be his translator. I am from another town where glaciers are fairytales, I was as much of a tourist as the Australian tourist, so I decided to join the crew.
The beautiful scenery was amazing, but the nature doesn't care about anyone. That day almost became our last day.
The ice-packed wave heads for the boat.
The ice-packed wave heads for the boat.
Jens Møller/YouTube still
According to UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the IsIlulissat Icefjord contains some of the fastest (62.3 ft. per day) and most active glaciers in the world. "Located on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle," said the centre, the Icefjord is the "sea mouth of Sermeq Kujalleq, one of the few glaciers through which the Greenland ice cap reaches the sea."
Just last week, "An iceberg twice the size of Manhattan" broke away from "the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland, raising concerns about North Atlantic shipping lanes and oil platforms," said Christian Science Monitor, who also queried whether climate change was to blame.
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