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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 December 2006, 12:00 GMT
RAF team abandon South Pole trek
Antarctica
The four-man team spent two years preparing for the trek
An attempt by four men to become the first RAF team to walk unassisted to the South Pole has been abandoned after two members suffered injuries.

Warrant officer Al Sylvester, from Grimsby and based at RAF High Wycombe, and Corporal Phil Mainprize, from Scarborough, of RAF Halton, took part.

Corporal Iain Kirk of RAF Kinloss in Moray and Lt Kev Scully of MOD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire also joined them.

The team were 101 miles (162km) from the pole when the trek was called off.

It has not yet been confirmed what the two men's injuries were or how badly they were hurt.

The group had aimed to complete the mammoth 670-mile (1078km) Southern Reach expedition by Boxing Day but were forced to call it off on 23 December.

We're sorry we didn't succeed, but we are proud of what we have achieved
Southern Reach team

They were recovered from the ice at 2130 GMT after covering a mammoth 600 miles (965km) in 43 days.

In their online diary, the team said the medical problems they faced would have been exacerbated if they had tried to continue.

Despite their disappointment, the men said they felt their trek had been a "monumental achievement".

"It is with great sadness that exercise Southern Reach, the RAF's attempt at reaching the Geographical South Pole has had to be aborted," they said.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been following our progress and the messages of support you have left have really been uplifting and a major source of morale.

"All that is left to say is that we're sorry we didn't succeed, but we are proud of what we have achieved."


SEE ALSO
RAF team set for Antarctic trek
25 Oct 06 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Secret rivers found in Antarctic
19 Apr 06 |  Science/Nature
Unexpected warming in Antarctica
30 Mar 06 |  Science/Nature
Pile-up as berg hits Antarctica
19 Apr 05 |  Science/Nature

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