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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 21:39 GMT 22:39 UK
Explorer Fiennes home after heart op
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph has walked unaided across Antarctica
British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has said he will have to "spend a few weeks learning to do nothing", as he recovers from an emergency heart bypass operation.

The 59-year-old, who was released from hospital on Friday, also praised a team of firefighters for providing emergency medical assistance after he collapsed on a plane at Bristol Airport.

Sir Ranulph added: "I would like to be able to thank the hundreds of well-wishers who have written in over the last week. My wife Ginny and I both found this a great help."

The explorer, who led the first successful circumnavigation of the globe on its polar axis in 1982, underwent surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary following last Saturday's heart attack.

'Extremely lucky'

After leaving hospital, Sir Ranulph said: "I was lucky to get the attack just after parking the car, and just before the aeroplane took off.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph made his name as a polar explorer

"I was also extremely lucky that a mobile defibrillating unit and the expert assistance of the Blue Watch of the Bristol Airport Fire Station were able to be immediately on the scene."

Sir Ranulph, who had been due to fly to Edinburgh, praised the "expertise and care" of the staff at Bristol Royal Infirmary.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "He spent one day in intensive care after the operation, then moved to a high dependency unit and finally a normal ward before being discharged."

Gina Rawle, Sir Ranulph's secretary, said: "He came out of hospital this morning and Lady Fiennes has now taken him away for a few days' convalescence."

Life-threatening

Old Etonian Sir Ranulph's expeditions to remote parts of the globe have seen him achieve outstanding goals - and overcome potentially life-threatening situations in the process.

In 1993, he became one of the first men to walk unaided across Antarctica.

Sir Ranulph was awarded the OBE for "human endeavour and charitable services". He also received a double clasp to his Polar Medal for outstanding achievements in Polar exploration, as well as the Sultan of Oman's Bravery


SEE ALSO:
Explorer Fiennes 'critical but stable'
09 Jun 03 |  Bristol/Somerset
Explorer's relics unfrozen
06 Sep 99 |  Science/Nature


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