trapped Y2K jumpers becoming desperate : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

whether or not these people made a wise decision in jumping, i think they could use our prayers right now.

Trapped parachutists desperate after sixth rescue failure

Source: AFP | Published: Monday January 24, 9:57 AM

PARIS, Jan 23 - Forty parachutists waiting to be rescued from a freezing South Pole base lashed by gale-force winds were today increasingly desperate and frightened after the sixth attempt in 20 days to reach them failed.

Speaking with AFP by satellite phone from the Patriot Hills US base, French Army officer Jean-Claude Laffaille admitted the latest aborted attempt to land a rescue plane had left many of the team members in a state of 'anguish'.

"The conditions are extreme. It's very cold, we're all in small tents, and the weather conditions mean we can't do much apart from wait," he said.

"It's starting to get very, very tense between the participants."

A sixth bid to land a plane this evening from Punta Arenas, Chile, was called off because cloud covered the base's small landing strip.

"It's very frustrating. Three of four times the plane has come and we see it overhead, but when it doesn't land - that's very difficult to accept," said Laffaille, adding that rescuers might make a new attempt, weather permitting, tomorrow.

The group, comprising parachutists from 18 nations, including France, Malaysia and the United States, assembled three weeks ago at the Antarctic base after making a series of daring landings to mark the new Millennium.

But bad weather, and the difficulties of mounting a rescue from Punta Arenas, some seven hours away, have blocked a prompt departure. "Normally," said Laffaille, "you only have to wait two or three days."

Even within tents, temperatures often plunge to 15 or 20 degrees Celsius below zero at the base, while winds were racing by at about 150kph.

The base's landing strip is only open for two months in the year, and weather conditions are due to get vastly worse from February onwards, when wind speeds reach up to 300kph.

Rations dropped by planes unable to land mean there is no shortage of food, though the group members are running low on fuel.

"For the Malaysians, who have left a temperature of 32 degrees, it's really terrible. Their spirit has taken a serious battering," Laffaille observed.

The prospect of spending another week of waiting had been accepted by many group members, he added.

"We hope each time, and try to keep a bit of energy."

-- boop (, January 23, 2000


Why can't they crash the U. S. South Pole Base?? It's a hundred yards from the Pole...

Perhaps members of the 300 Club can share info on keeping warm ;-)

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It ALL went away 23+ days ago .com), January 23, 2000.

Sorry, but I have a hard time mustering up much sympathy for people who did something so stupid voluntarily. They are extremists, all right.

-- semper paratus (still_here_with@my.pals), January 23, 2000.

Are they having any 'fun' yet? What a bunch of m*r*ns.

-- Will continue (, January 23, 2000.

They should have hung out here for a while before they jumped. We would have taught them how to prepare for a three week storm... <:)=

-- Sysman (, January 23, 2000.

darwin award candidates!!

-- ribbitt (, January 24, 2000.

You guys have no sense of humor!

There is the 300 Club at the base there...cold is a State Of Mind!!

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It ALL went away 24 days ago .com), January 24, 2000.

Hindsights 20/20 ...I feel sorry for them ...I'm sure they're all wondering "why did we do this again?" now. My prayers are with them. And with those who are attempting to land that plane.

-- kritter (, January 24, 2000.

Tents? That won't keep the cold out. Why don't they build an igloo? Or dig a hole?

-- Amy Leone (, January 24, 2000.

Pretty dificult to dig a hole in frozen ground. Besides, they 'dug their hole' several weeks ago and then jumped in it.......

-- Will continue (, January 24, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ