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February 28, 2013

British Explorer Ranulph Fiennes leaves Antarctic expedition after frostbite

British explorer Ranulph Fiennes leaves Antarctic expedition after frostbite

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

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A file photo of Ranulph Fiennes.
Image: B Milnes.

After suffering severe frostbite the British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has decided to pull out from The Coldest Journey expedition across Antarctica. The 68-year-old was frostbitten whilst training at a base camp in Antarctica. He fell over and fixed a ski with his bare hands in roughly -30C temperatures.

He is now on his way to Cape Town after several days of blizzard conditions halted his evacuation. Despite his withdrawal, the expedition is to continue without him and his fellow team members are to trek the 2,000 miles (3,219km) across Antarctica from Novolazarevskaya Station (Novo) to the Ross Sea starting on March 21, at the autumnal equinox and approaching winter, taking six months. A team successfully travelled approximately 70km to transport him by snowmobile to the Princess Elisabeth Station. He is now to be flown on to Novo for a flight to Cape Town.

Organisers of The Coldest Journey expedition said in a statement, “The condition is such that he has very reluctantly decided with the support of the team doctor and in the interests of the success of the expedition and its associated aims, to withdraw from Antarctica while the possibility to do so still exists, before the onset of the Antarctic winter”.

Expedition organiser Tony Medniuk told the BBC, “After five years of preparation, a small slip like this and a few moments can undermine the most meticulous preparation”. Ian Prickett, a member of the team, said on Twitter “Sir Ran is leaving but we will carry on.”

The team hopes to raise US$10 million (£6.2 million) for avoidable-blindness charity Seeing is Believing. This is to be the first time any human has walked across Antarctica during winter and the expedition team are bracing themselves for cold around -90C and near-permanent darkness.

Fiennes also suffered from frostbite whilst on an expedition to the North Pole in 2000 and, as a result, lost the tips of the fingers on his left hand.

Guinness World Records has called Sir Ranulph “the world’s greatest living explorer”. In the past he became the first person to reach both the North and South Pole by surface as well as the oldest Briton, at age 65, to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 2009. Another British explorer, Captain Scott, died a century ago on his Antarctic expedition after being caught out by the beginning of winter.



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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg The Coldest Journey

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September 26, 2007

Boy survives flight in wheel well of Boeing 737

Filed under: Archived,Aviation,Europe,Frostbite,Health,Moscow,Russia,Wackynews — admin @ 5:00 am

Boy survives flight in wheel well of Boeing 737

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Boeing 737-400 flown by British Airways. Exposed nature of the wheel well is clearly visible.

A Boeing 737-300 flown by Virgin Express. Another view of the exposed wheel well characteristic of a Boeing 737.

A Russian teenager has accomplished an unprecedented feat in the history of world aviation. He flew a distance of 1,300 kilometres in a wheel well of a Boeing 737 and lived. The fifteen year old Andrey Scherbakov spent two hours in the wheel well of the airplane at extreme temperature of −50° centigrade. The rear wheels do not go all the way into the plane; the wheel merely retracts into an opening and remains exposed. The boy managed to bypass security at the Perm city airport to hide in the plane as it took off. Airport workers found the boy after the plane had landed at Moscow. He had collapsed on the tarmac.

The boy was delivered to the hospital by the airport staff and is said to be in a critical condition. His arms and legs were so severely frozen and swollen that the rescuers were not able to remove his coat and shoes. There is a probability that his hands may have to be amputated. However, according to the medical staff at the hospital, it is nothing short of a miracle that the boy survived the ordeal. The Boeing 737 has a cruising speed of 900 kilometres per hour and was flying constantly at an altitude of 10,000 metres for two hours. As a result, the boy suffered severe frostbite in both of his hands. Doctors in Ural city would have to remove his fingertips, which contracted gangrene after they had frozen, but they were committed to do everything within their power to stop it from spreading.

When Scherbakov finally came to his senses, he told the police that he had run away from his family so as to escape his alcoholic father. He said that he was wandering around the territory of the airport and noticed a hole in the fence. He fell asleep during his examination of the stowaway of the plane. He woke up when the plane was already flying. It is curious how the inspection staff and the technicians found nothing on their inspection of the aircraft just before the flight. The boy claims that he fainted soon after and came around only when the plane had landed in Moscow after traveling hundreds of kilometres from Perm.

The airport did not confirm the report. However, Moscow’s air and water transport control department said that the claim was true. A department spokesperson said that the incident happened on Friday, and the boy’s parents were immediately informed and flew into the capital on the same day.

Stowaways in wheel wells risk freezing to death after take-off or being crushed when the wheels retract. This year, a body was found in the wheel well of a jet in San Francisco after a flight from Shanghai and another body was found in Atlanta after a flight from Dakar, Senegal.



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May 18, 2007

British adventurer flies powered paraglider over Everest

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Europe,Frostbite,Nepal,United Kingdom — admin @ 5:00 am

British adventurer flies powered paraglider over Everest

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Friday, May 18, 2007

The North Face of Everest

British explorer and mountaineer Edward “Bear” Grylls, has set a new altitude record by piloting a powered paraglider above Mount Everest reaching 29,494ft (8,990m). He and his fellow pilot, Giles Cardozo, who had invented and developed the parajet engine, set out on their attempt from the Himalayan village of Pheriche (altitude 14,435ft (4,400m)) in the early morning of 14th May.

Grylls, 33, is a mountaineer, best selling author and television presenter who spent three years with the elite British Special Air Service (“SAS”) forces. During this time he was involved in a horrific parachuting accident in which he broke his back in three places, almost severing his spinal cord. Remarkably, in 1998, after months of rehabilitation, he became at 23, the youngest British climber to scale Mount Everest and return alive.

Cardozo is considered to be one of the top paragliding pilots in the world, and it is reported that he and Grylls first came up with the idea for the attempt about a year ago when he had invented the engine that would take them up the mountain.

Grylls and Cardozo flew their paragliders together to 28,001ft (8,353m) surviving temperatures of minus 76°F (-60°C) and dangerously low oxygen levels, when a fault developed in Cardozo’s engine, and he had to abort his attempt just 984ft (300m) below the summit. Grylls went on to reach his record height at 09.33 local time. He had originally intended to cross the Mountain but turned back to base camp fearing that he might be arrested if he entered Chinese airspace.

On his return to Kathmandu, Grylls voiced his feelings of loneliness and exhilaration:

When Giles descended and I found myself alone so high up I was feeling a lot more vulnerable but I knew the weather and wind conditions were perfect. It was so amazing to look into Nepal, India and Tibet and all of a sudden these great Himalayan giants looked so tiny. It was a very special moment when I realised that there was no mountain in the world above me, especially after having stood on the top of the world myself nine years ago.
 
— Bear Grylls, BBC online

The attempt was sponsored by British technology and engineering group GKN. The project, GKN Mission Everest, raised £500,000 (approximately $1m) for Global Angels, a charity helping children in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Paraglider survives at 32,000 feet

In a separate incident, a German paragliding champion has survived being sucked up by a storm to a height of 32,612ft (9,940m) whilst preparing for a world paragliding championship in Manilla, New South Wales, Australia.

Ewa Wisnierska, 35, the 2005 World Cup paragliding winner, lost consciousness and was covered in ice and battered by orange-sized hailstones as she was pulled upwards by the sudden tornado-like storm which she had been attempting to skirt. After regaining consciousness as she descended she was able to make contact with her ground team which had been tracking her by her GPS equipment, and landed safely 40 miles (60km) from where she took off.

Remarkably she spent only an hour in hospital after her experience, being treated for frostbite and blistering to her face and ears.

A fellow competitor, 42 year old Chinese man, He Zhongpin, who was also caught up in the storm, was not so fortunate and died from lack of oxygen and the extreme cold.

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