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Antarctic explorers set off on expedition
A team of explorers bidding to become the first to cross Antarctica in winter have today set off on their epic expedition.
The group, which includes Gosport's Ian Prickett, 34, were due to set off Tuesday, but were delayed by strong winds and heavy snow.
And the weather again scuppered their hopes of starting the challenge yesterday, as the blizzard-like conditions continued.
But their 2,400-mile journey, which is predicted to take up to six months to complete, has finally got underway this afternoon.
The intrepid team of three Brits, one Irishman and one Canadian set off from the ice shelf at Crown Bay in Antarctica.
They will pass the South Pole on their way to Captain Scott's base at McMurdo Sound, braving temperatures as low as -90C along the way.
The challenge, dubbed The Coldest Journey, was originally being led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who had to withdraw from the team after suffering severe frostbite in his fingers, for which he is now receiving treatment in the UK.
Sir Ranulph said: “Today my colleagues have begun what will be a significant and life-changing challenge.
“They are the first people ever to try to cross the Antarctic continent during the polar winter - it is a huge feat of exploration and daring.
“I have spent five long years planning, organising and masterminding the expedition, which I have now put into the capable hands of Brian Newham, the new Expedition Leader.
“It is a fantastic adventure and I am sure that it will succeed.
“I wish the team the very best of luck and will be following their progress closely.”
The expedition is being put on in a bid to raise $10million for Seeing is Believing, a global charity committed to eliminating avoidable blindness in developing countries.