Frostbite brings end to brave explorers' North Pole dream
Published 09/03/2010 | 05:00
THE brave efforts of a team of Irish explorers to make Arctic history ended in heartbreak yesterday with a forced retreat.
Pat Falvey, Clare O'Leary and John Dowd had to be evacuated by Canadian authorities five days into their bid to walk unaided to the North Pole across 784km of Arctic terrain.
The evacuation was ordered after Mr Dowd -- a Kerry-based explorer -- began to develop signs of frostbite on his fingers.
A Canadian pilot performed a landing on ice to fly the three Irish adventurers back to base-camp where Mr Dowd could receive emergency medical attention.
The Irish team had spent five days trudging across the ice and snow in temperatures which plummeted as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius.
The team were recovering from their ordeal last night at Resolute, a north Canadian town which serves as the base for most North Pole expeditions.
"Of course we are feeling somewhat disappointed having to abort on rescue at this early stage but these extreme conditions have taken their toll on John and his injury is not going to improve," Mr Falvey told the Irish Independent.
It was impossible for just two members of the team to continue on.
They had been attempting to reach the North Pole without the aid of dog sleds, snowmobiles or snow tractors.