More than 50 people were involved in the extensive search and rescue operation around the volcanic region of Eldgja in Iceland’s southern highlands.
Police were called to the area after it was reported that a member of a tour party had failed to return to the bus after more than an hour.
Described as being “of Asian origin, aged 20-30, about 160cm, wearing dark clothing and speaks fluent English”, police said that a woman of Asian origin, aged 20-30 and speaking fluent English joined the search, apparently not spotting the similarities. She had been on board the bus all along.
“She had no idea that she was missing,” explained one officer.
A failure to count the number of people on board, coupled with the fact the woman had changed her clothes and freshened up before getting back on the tour bus, had also contributed to the astonishing mix-up.
According to reports, a helicopter was also about to be sent to the area to assist the rescue operation before fog curtailed the plans.
The search was eventually called off at 3am after the missing woman was found alive and well.