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Scott Base can't stop Norwegian adventurers

10:30 Thu Jan 26 2012
Scott Base cannot stop two Norwegians trying to reach the South Pole
Scott Base cannot stop two Norwegians trying to reach the South Pole

New Zealand's Scott Base will hand over two quad bikes and gear to two rogue Norwegian adventurers, despite fears they could be heading towards their deaths.

Jarle Andhoy and Samuel Massie are trying to repeat an unsanctioned attempt to reach the South Pole, which last year ended in tragedy and failure when a massive storm sank their support ship with the loss of three lives.

They left Auckland aboard the yacht Nilaya, which is not built to withstand sea ice, on Monday.

Scott Base operations and infrastructure manager Iain Miller, currently in Christchurch, said their equipment - modified quad bikes, tents, survival gear, food and fuel - was stored at the base.

"It's not our property. We can't prevent them from using it," he told NZ Newswire.

"It remains to be seen whether they make it [there] or not."

Mr Miller described the men as "ill-prepared" and said it was dangerous to attempt to reach the South Pole at this time of year.

There would be no ships or aircraft available as the bases batten down the hatches for winter.

Mr Andhoy told Norwegian media he hoped to find the wreck of the Berserk II, which disappeared almost without a trace following last year's storm.

Mr Miller said it would be amazing if the pair discovered the wreck, which would have sunk in hundreds of metres of water. There had been hundreds of flights and people searching in the area and nothing had turned up.

Temperatures this time of year were about -5C and -10C, but by early March could be down to -20C.

It would be dangerous for anyone to mount a search if they got into trouble, either on the water or the ice.

"That's the unfortunate thing about this. They don't seem to be too worried about that," Mr Miller said.