Antarctic search for missing Norwegian yacht abandoned
A week-long search for a Norwegian yacht missing in Antarctic waters with three men aboard has been abandoned, New Zealand's Rescue Co-ordination Centre announced Monday.
An extensive air and sea search found no trace of the 14-metre Berserk, which disappeared in minus 12-degree Celsius waters on February 22. except for its damaged life raft, dpa reported.
The Berserk yacht was attempting to mark the centenary of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen's South Pole expedition.
Meanwhile, two survivors of the mission were reported to have reached safety after a 20-hour drive across the ice on quad bikes to catch the last flight out of Antarctica of the southern hemisphere summer.
They aborted the expedition after hearing that the Berserk had disappeared. No more aircraft will be able to land to supply scientists working at research bases in Antarctica until the end of the year.
Antarctic New Zealand chief executive Lou Sanson was quoted on the Stuff news website as saying the whole expedition was beyond understanding: "It just seems all the safety principles operating in Antarctica have been broken."
Sanson said the two survivors, named as mission leader Jarle Andhoy, 34, and Samuel Massie Ulvolden, 18, were suffering from frostbite and exhaustion after driving for nearly 20 hours to reach New Zealand's Scott Base.
Sanson said the men were flying to Christchurch on a United States aircraft and would be met by Norwegian diplomats based in Australia. He said it was up to the Norwegian government to deal with them.
The missing men were named by Stuff as Robert Skaane, 34, Tom Gisle Bellika, 36, and Leonard Banks, 32.