Four Norwegians and one British national are missing in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica after sending out an emergency distress call.
The Norwegian-registered “Berserk” yacht was last heard from yesterday morning 18 nautical miles (33km) north of Scott Base in the Ross Sea.
Both the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Northern Norway picked up a signal from the 14-metre steel-hulled vessel’s emergency distress beacon at approximately 05:00. Attempts to raise the crew have so far failed.
According to Berserk’s website, the crew had decided to embark on the voyage “to re-conquer the South Pole 100 years after Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen in 2011.”
Current information points towards two explorers having been dropped onto Antarctica from the vessel. Both are now on their way back from the South Pole on ATVs, according to NTB.
“We do not know who is still on the boat, and who went ashore. It has not been possible to reach any of the five”, Maritime New Zealand spokesperson Nick Christchurch tells Dagbladet.
The RCCNZ orginally asked for the HMNZS Wellington’s assistance in order to find Berserk. However, extremely bad weather conditions forced rescuers to call their search off temporarily yesterday, reports The New Zealand Herald.
"The navy vessel was prevented from attending immediately due to extremely difficult weather in the region, with reports of winds up to 150km/h and waves more than two metres high and rising," says RCCNZ spokesman Ross Henderson
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Steve Irwin craft and Russian ship Professor Kromov are also assisting in the search
Meanwhile, latest reports suggest rescuers are considering increasing their search activity using a helicopter and plane
“There are indications the weather is improving. These may be relevant to efforts organized by New Zealand authorities in the area,” emergency response leader at the Joint Rescue Centre Northern Norway, Øyvind Aadde, tells Dagbladet.
Norwegian rescue authorities confirm 34-year-old Jarle Andhøy and 18-year-old Samuel Massie are aboard.
“We believe the British national is also still on board the Berserk,” Joint Rescue Centre Northern Norway’s press spokesperson, Orjan Delbekk, tells The Foreigner.