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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 07:15 GMT
Explorer dies in fall though ice
A British explorer has died in Antarctica after falling through pack ice while taking photographs.

Friends of Stephen Thomas, 51, from Cambridge, said he fell into a crevasse on January 13 while taking photographs near the British base at Port Lockroy.

The day before his death he had achieved a lifetime ambition of sailing his boat, Magic Dragon, from Arctic waters into the Antarctic.

His body is to be flown back to Britain and a memorial service will be held.

A friend, Steven Edwards, said he was walking along the ice with the rest of his four man crew when the ground gave way beneath him and he fell into a crevasse.

Family funeral

No one else was injured and the other members of his party managed to pull him out.

He was treated by a doctor on a nearby cruise ship but was later pronounced dead.

Mr Edwards said Mr Thomas's body would be flown back to the UK in the next few days for a small family funeral service.

He said a larger memorial service would take place later in the year.

Mr Thomas had last seen his wife, Catherine and his 13-year-old son James in December after they flew out to South America to spend Christmas with him on his boat.
Stephen was universally liked and respected for his honesty and kindness as well as his numerous and very considerable achievements
Stephen Edwards

They had returned home to the UK when Mr Thomas died.

Mr Thomas had been a successful businessman in the high-tech and IT industries for more than 20 years. He had been engineering director of software company, Cambridge Interactive Systems.

"Stephen was universally liked and respected for his honesty and kindness as well as his numerous and very considerable achievements," said Mr Edwards.

"He will be sorely missed by his family and by the very large number of people who watched in admiration and learned so much from what he did," he said.

Mr Thomas was a keen sailor, explorer and mountaineer whose many adventures included sailing round the world with his family.

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