The mixup occurred last weekend near Eldgja, a barren, treeless area of Iceland's volcanic southern highlands. According to the Iceland Review, the foreign tourist was reported missing after she failed to return to her tour bus during a sightseeing stop.
The driver waited for about an hour before notifying the police and continuing the tour. About 50 people participated in the search - including the clueless woman, who apparently was unrecognized by the driver and her fellow passengers because she'd changed her clothes and "freshened up" before reboarding the bus.
"To make matters more surreal, she had even taken part in the search, without realizing at first that she was the one people were looking for," notes the Reykjavik Grapevine. "Eventually, it occurred to her that she could very well be the 'missing person' being described, and reported the matter to the police. The search was called off shortly thereafter."
Sveinn Runarsson, the police chief in charge of the rescue, said "the people on the bus had not been counted correctly."
(Copyright © 2012 USA TODAY)