|Adventurer Fiennes abandons Antarctic trek
An Antarctic snow storm prevented the evacuation of adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes yesterday, injured while attempting the icy continent's first winter crossing, the expedition said.
The 68-year-old Briton was holed up in the team's cabin with frostbite and the expedition now hoped to start his evacuation to South Africa today, AFP reports.
“Ran has frostbite injuries to four fingers of his left hand,'' said Robert Lambert, the group's doctor. The veteran explorer suffered frostbite after he removed a glove to adjust a ski binding. He then withdrew from the marathon trek.
Fiennes had suffered severe frostbite to the same hand during a 2000 expedition, and sawed off the damaged parts of his fingers himself.
It was too soon to assess the full extent of the new damage to the hand, but treatment was going well, said Lambert.
“To continue skiing with this injury in these conditions would be to invite much more severe damage,'' he added.
The team is waiting for a break in the bad weather to get Fiennes to Princess Elisabeth Station, about 70 kilometers away.
The five remaining members of the team will press on with the mission, dubbed The Coldest Journey, and are set to start the winter crossing on March 21.
The group hopes to be the first to make a more than 2,000-mile crossing in winter.
The team members will face six months of mostly darkness in an area where temperatures can plunge to minus 70 degrees.
The team is led by two skiers carrying radars, followed by two tractors pulling sledge-mounted, converted containers with the rest of the team, equipment, fuel and food.