A well-placed international call saved two young British explorers from being battered to death by Icelandic winds.
Alex Hibbert, 25, from Battersea, London phoned his father back on British soil after experiencing difficulties during his expedition to Iceland’s Vatnajokull glacier that started on 31st January. The tent, in which Hibbert and fellow adventurer Finn McCann had sought shelter from the staggering 120mph winds and freezing temperatures, collapsed, leaving the pair exposed to the elements.
Hibbert used social network Twitter to break the initial news: “Assessing the damage to tent and kit. Grim. That was quite a wind. Tent like a tiny tomb inside.”
Conditions had been tough throughout the journey with torrential snow and sleet soaking the explorers. The decision to seek help came after the two had been huddled in the tent’s canvas and realised they couldn’t go on without proper shelter despite being only two days away from their final destination.
On the 8th February, with the last remaining battery power on their satellite phone, Hibbert made a call to his father, a Royal Navy Officer, in Hampshire who forwarded his son’s request for help to the Solent Coastguard. International relations are handled by Falmouth Coastguard who got in touch with Icelandic authorities in Reykjavik.
Local rescue teams set off in the dark and found the two friends safe but shaken. Both father and son spoke highly of the locals’ professionalism. Hibbert is keen on returning to Iceland in the future to complete his mission. In 2008 he became a world record breaker after surviving the longest unsupported polar journey in history.
Andy Condy, from Falmouth Coastguard, commented on the ordeal: “We are pleased that we could assist in the rescue of these two British men from their situation. People who are considering this type of expedition should avail themselves with contact details of emergency services in the country they are exploring.”
Remember to keep your phone charged, so you can make potentially lifesaving international calls too.