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'Missing' Icelandic tourist goes in search of herself

A woman on a visit to Iceland has managed to add new twist to the concept of "self-discovery" after taking part in a major mountain search operation for a lost tourist before admitting to police that she was the missing person everyone was looking for.

The bizarre mix up occurred last Saturday in Iceland's southern volcanic region near the island's Eidgja canyon, a remote but popular walking area for visiting tourists.

The woman in question was reported to have failed to return to her tour bus.

The tour company driver waited for an hour. When the woman failed to turn up, he alerted police and search teams were dispatched to the area shortly afterwards. They started combing the barren treeless hillsides looking for an Asian woman described as 5ft 2in and wearing dark clothing.

The expedition was only called off at 3am after it emerged that the woman had been on the bus all along and had even participated in the search, having had no idea that she had been reported missing.

Before getting back on the bus, the "missing" tourist had apparently changed her clothes and "freshened up".

Her fellow passengers and the driver did not recognise her as being the same woman.

The penny only dropped when the search was well underway. She immediately told the bus driver, who informed the police.

Sveinn Runarsson, the police chief in charge of the rescue, said that "the people on the bus had not been counted correctly".