Thursday 8 December 2016

Adventurer calls home for help

Published 09/02/2012 | 15:53

British adventurer Alex Hibbert called his father back in the UK for help when his tent was destroyed in a storm in Iceland
British adventurer Alex Hibbert called his father back in the UK for help when his tent was destroyed in a storm in Iceland

A British adventurer whose tent was destroyed in a storm in Iceland called his father back in the UK for help, the Coastguard has said.

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Alex Hibbert was involved in an expedition to the Vatnajokull icecap with a friend when the pair got into difficulties.

The 25-year-old then used a satellite phone to contact his father in Portsmouth, Hampshire, who alerted Solent Coastguard in the early hours of Wednesday.

The case was passed on to Falmouth Coastguard, which has an international liaison role. It contacted the Icelandic authorities and a rescue mission was launched.

Andy Condy, from Falmouth Coastguard, said: "We are pleased that we could assist in the rescue of these two British men from their situation. People who are considering this type of expedition should avail themselves with contact details of emergency services in the country they are exploring."

The drama was played out on Twitter, with Mr Hibbert providing sparse accounts of the trouble he was facing. On February 6, he wrote: "Pinned down in storm. tent damaged but both safe. more tomorrow," followed on Tuesday by: "Tent now secure after freezing shovelling in the melee. both wet and keen for 2day push."

On February 8, he wrote: "Tent Damaged In Storm. 120kph plus storm forecast so getting skidoo. so close!," and he later added: "Assessing the damage to tent and kit. grim. that was quite a wind. tent like a tiny tomb inside."

Describing the decision to call for help from his father, he said: "The thought process was focused and calm. No undue drama. Three of our support team forecasted a massive storm system coming in. We worked out we could not get to our end point, Hofn, in time to miss it and I decided our tent would not survive another massive storm.

"My family were just part of, although essential to, my home team and helped to transmit details due to limits to my satellite phone power supply. We had the full complement of satellite communications and emergency beacons. We did not activate any beacons since it was more sensible to make calls and retain control."

Mr Hibbert said the team was "disappointed" at having to abandon the expedition but added he would like to return. He said: "We were content with our planning, systems, fitness and skills and so yes we were disappointed to miss the final few miles. I'll certainly return for another go. Tough expeditions are like that. You can't always have it all."

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