Container City are sorry to confirm that Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been forced to pull out of the 2,000-mile trek across Antarctica, known as 'the coldest journey on earth', after suffering severe frostbite.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes is suffering from the condition after having to use his bare hands – in temperatures plummeting to -30C – to fix a ski binding after falling during training. Whilst devastated about having to withdraw from the expedition, Ran has vowed to support the team from home and increase awareness for the charity 'Seeing is Believing' which aims to tackle avoidable blindness.
Urban Space Management (Container City) Ltd wish to offer our good wishes to the whole team and will continue to support the remaining 5 members of the ice team as they push on to start this monumental challenge on March 21st.
A statement from The Coldest Journey Team says
"We regret to confirm that Sir Ranulph Fiennes has developed a severe case of frostbite. 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. This decision has not been taken lightly and it is, naturally, a huge disappointment to Fiennes and his colleagues.
Right now the team is working towards evacuating Fiennes from Antarctica. He will be transported by skidoo to the Princess Elisabeth Station about 70km away from his current position, from where he will be flown to Novo to get a connecting flight to Cape Town. This plan is currently being hampered due to a blizzard at their present location which is making the first stage of the evacuation impossible. Until there is a let up in the weather conditions, Fiennes will be unable to leave.
The remaining expedition members, under the experienced leadership of the Traverse Manager, Brian Newham, have unanimously elected to continue with the winter crossing of Antarctica and will undertake the scientific and educational aspects of the project as originally planned, with its humanitarian benefits. This view is supported by the board of trustees.
The expedition has reached the point where they can readily establish a supply depot on the Antarctic plateau. This puts them in an excellent position to start the crossing as scheduled on 21st March.
Sir Ranulph remains fully dedicated to the project. As soon as his injuries permit, he will continue to support The Coldest Journey by fundraising and promoting awareness of Seeing is Believing, the expedition's chosen charity, which is committed to eradicating preventable blindness in the developing world (see: www.seeingisbelieving.org)"
Urban Space Management (Container City) Ltd provided the expedition with shipping containers for their living quarters and area for environmental studies.
Built on sledges that will be pulled behind the expedition, 2 x 30ft containers will provide the living space and vital protection from the element, whilst another 30ft container will be the moving science lab that will seek to make a decisive contribution to understanding the effect on climate change upon the poles.