Horrifying Tales of Expeditions to Antarctica

The continent of Antarctica is one of great mystery and intrigue. It is situated almost entirely south of the Arctic Circle and its landmass is wholly covered by a vast sheet of ice. In the last century many military groups and explorers have ventured into Antarctica. Some of them encountered several challenges along the journey. Here are five horrifying stories of expeditions to Antarctica.

1. Ernest Shackleton

In 1914, Ernest Shackelton and his crew started an ambitious expedition to be the first to completely cross the continent of Antarctica. This journey called the Imperial Trans- Antarctic Expedition came to an abrupt stop when The Endurance, the expedition’s ship, got stuck in sea ice. Shackleton and his crew escaped before the ship was crushed and sank. They made their way to Elephant Island off the coast of Antarctica and then to the island of South Georgia where they got assistance and were rescued. Their goal was not achieved but they all survived.

2. Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition

British naval officer and explorer Robert Falcon Scott attempted to reach the South Pole on two journeys. The first attempt in 1902 had to be aborted as a result of the poor health of the crew and challenging weather conditions. The second attempt began in 1910, and Scott and his crew arrived in Antarctica in 1911, and then the South Pole in 1912. They discovered they were not the first to arrive there. On their return home they encountered many challenges including bad weather, frostbite, low food supply and fuel leakages. Nobody survived.

3. Operation Tabarin

Operation Tabarin was the code name given to a secret British expedition to Antarctica during World War II. This top secret expedition, which began in November 1943, had a goal to establish a British presence in Antarctica and to undertake science research. The men arrived in the Falkland Islands in 1944 and started their Antarctic journey in earnest. During their time, they denied safe anchorage of enemy vessels in that region. Though it was a challenging expedition, it was said to be a successful one which ended in 1946.

4. Operation Highjump

Operation Highjump, which was overseen by Admiral Richard Byrd, was a massive and ambitious sea and air operation to explore Antarctica. It involved thirteen ships and thirty-five aircrafts. This quest commenced in August 1946 and ended in February 1947. According to the US Navy reports, Operation Highjump sought to fulfill several objectives which included the training of personnel, testing equipment in extremely cold conditions and determining the feasibility of having a base in Antarctica. Conditions there were often challenging and during one terrible blizzard, three men lost their lives.

5. Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin, one of the men to walk on the moon, endeavored to journey to the South Pole in November, 2016. Aldrin, who was eighty-six years old at the time, received clearance from his doctor ahead of the risky expedition. Along the journey, the legendary astronaut began to develop altitude sickness. This is experienced by many people at an altitude of 9000 feet. He was evacuated and taken to Christchurch, New Zealand for treatment.


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