Sunday, February 27, 2011

A sad end for modern Vikings

(EDITED TO ADD: In January 2012 the leader of the 'Wild Vikings' did it again - perhaps even more irresponsibly this time! See here for the details.)

The so-called 'Berserk Expedition' was a voyage from the Arctic to Antarctica aboard a 48-foot steel-hulled yacht, crewed by the self-described 'Wild Vikings' under the leadership of Jarle Andhøy.

Sadly, the expedition appears to have met with disaster in the waters off Antarctica. A New Zealand Web site reports:

Debris and an empty life raft have been found in the Ross Sea, north of Antarctica's Scott Base, in a continuing effort to find a missing Norwegian yacht with three men aboard.

The Rescue Coordination Centre in Wellington, which is conducting the search for the steel yacht Berserk, said the Sea Shepherd boat Steve Irwin had located the wreckage.

The life raft was found yesterday and it has been confirmed as coming from Berserk.

"The life raft has a torn canopy and is missing its first aid kit and survival knife," the centre says.

"However, there is no sign that the life raft has ever been occupied.

"Evidence also indicates it has floated free from the vessel and not been released manually."

. . .

No further trace of the missing vessel or the men has been found.

. . .

Water temperature in the area is near-freezing, with ice forming, putting survival times at mere minutes.

The rescue mission was launched after RCCNZ picked up a signal from a distress beacon registered to the Berserk about 5pm on Tuesday.

The yacht's position at that time was 33 kilometres north of Scott Base.

There's more at the link.

I'm sorry for the sailors who are presumed lost; but I can't pretend to be surprised by this turn of events. Jarle Andhøy has a history of being extremely careless, perhaps even criminally irresponsible, in his preparations for and carrying out of previous such voyages. It seems that at last, the luck that carried him through regardless has run out.

Here's a video clip of one of his previous voyages, through the North-West Passage north of Canada (during which he had several unfriendly encounters with Canadian law enforcement authorities).

I'm afraid one can do stupid things just so often before the odds catch up with you . . . and I fear they've caught up with Jarle Andhøy and his crew at last.



Old NFO said...

The sea is a truly unforgiving mistress...

Jim said...

If they got that far, it was willingly. I feel bad for their families, but I'm not terribly surprised.