Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Rescue of 154 Explorer Guests and Crew

Friday, November 23, 2007

While the Chilean Navy helicopter continued to film the sinking of the Explorer, the rescue continued of all 154 guests and crew.

These images were taken from the bow of the National Geographic Endeavour as all guests were transferred to Zodiacs and then on to the Nordnorge.

Miraculously not a single person was injured or suffered from hypothermia during the roughly three and a half to four and a half hours that they were in the lifeboats and Zodiacs.

The rescue went smoothly and efficiently.

It was quite a traumatic event for all the guests and crew, but I cannot stress how lucky it was for everyone involved that the weather was calm and the seas relatively flat, not always the case in this part of Antarctica! In less than eight hours a raging gale would hit the area! A difference of a few hours could have spelled disaster for so many folks...

The ship had drifted clear of most ice floes, with only an occasional iceberg to be seen in the area.

All of the orange bags shown here are personal thermal protection devices that act similar to a sleeping bag that is slipped on over all outer clothing to maintain body heat.

As the lifeboats were emptied they were left to drift in the open seas. The Chilean navy would return later in the day to retrieve the empty lifeboats.

Quite a surreal scene to see the empty lifeboats floating among the ice near the still heavily listing Explorer.

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