Dansercoer and Troy Henkels have been evacuated by a rescue helicopter
Base camp, 7 April 2005 – We have just received word
from The Bering Strait Odyssey communications headquarters in Alaska that the
expedition has been evacuated due to extremely bad weather conditions. The
south-easterly drift that drove the men away from their route had picked up
enormous speed and it became impossible to pursue the expedition. Dixie
Dansercoer and Troy Henkels have been picked up by a rescue
helicopter on April 6, around
noon Alaskan time, past midnight Belgian time.
week on the ice, the explorers were making steady progress even if they were
slowed down by both the continuing southerly drift and the difficulty of
navigating through a maze of bad convoluted ice and small open leads.
5, Troy & Dixie were substantially south of King Island, drifting more and
more away from their planned NW heading towards Siberia. The farther south
they drifted, the worse the ice conditions became. The drift reached about
long night, Dixie and Troy had to face the fact that an evacuation would be
much better in a controlled spot (still not too far from Nome) than a rescue
helicopter in a remote
area of the Bering Sea and in stormy conditions.
predictions had warned that Wednesday’s weather would take a turn for the
worse, with high winds and precipitations, meaning that Dixie and Troy would
need to be on solid ice and hunkered down to be able to withstand such a
storm. Their present location was not solid enough. There was no guarantee
that they could make it north-west to better ice in time for a storm with
winds of up to 80km/hr.
have been too easy to continue, allow ourselves to physically weaken, place
ourselves in a risky environment for the search and rescue team to reach us.
We made the responsible decision, considering everyone involved, to opt for an
evacuation instead of a rescue” says Dansercoer.
is much more than competition
Dixie Dansercoer and Troy Henkels’ goal of a double-back crossing of the
Bering Strait has not been realised, several things must be noted.
has never before been tried. The first successful single crossing on foot was
only accomplished as recently as 1998 – after four failed attempts – and from
Siberia to Alaska (where a southerly drift turns out to be more positive).
Since then, seven more attempts have been made, all unsuccessful.
Troy have faced extraordinarily difficult conditions, among them extreme cold,
the hazards of travelling across unstable ice flows, and unpredictable
expedition, Dixie Dansercoer explained his philosophy, “Preparation needs to
be optimal. Whatever gets me closer to success, I do.” At the same time he
acknowledged the inherent difficulties of the polar environment, humbly
saying, “Nature decides.”
every expedition is a success in terms of experience. The unique knowledge
gained – both practical and personal – cannot be acquired in any other way.
This lesson is only one out of many that the expedition has provided.
Henkels adds “We both lived a privilege that very few people on this planet
have witnessed. And even though we were fully prepared, we won’t ever have the
power to influence the weather conditions. ”
of pride, no matter what the outcome
sponsors of The Bering Strait Odyssey, we at Deloitte, DHL and Job@ feel very
honoured to participate in Dixie’s adventure” says Delphine de la Kethulle,
spokesperson for the expedition in Belgium. “We thank Dixie, Troy and their
supporting team for their heroic efforts. And for all the inspiration The
Bering Strait Odyssey has given to all of us. Clearly, the spirit of the
expedition and the style in which it is executed enhanced again the motto we
all share: “passion to perform” - no matter what the outcome.”
really necessary sleep, Dixie and Troy will begin their communications,
collect equipment, and gather their bearings.
storm in Alaska begins to rage, they know that the timing was indeed just
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