Ice team’s leader forced to pull out with frostbite

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AN EXPEDITION preparing to cross Antarctica in its winter faces a new challenge after Sir Ranulph Fiennes had to pull out.

Sir Ranulph had been leading Ian Prickett, 35, from Gosport, and four other members of The Coldest Journey ice team before he suffered from frostbite.

As previously reported in The News, Ian and the team are currently in the Antarctic, preparing for a 2,000-mile expedition, which will begin on March 22.

Traverse manager Brian Newham will now lead the expedition.

Sir Ranulph will be taken by skidoo to Princess Elisabeth Station around 46 miles from his current position but a blizzard is preventing the team from carrying out the evacuation.

When he is evacuated, he will be flown to Novo before going on to Cape Town in South Africa.

The expedition has never before been attempted and is the final polar challenge left.

As expedition leader, Sir Ranulph was due to ski ahead of the team’s ‘ice train’ – two Caterpillar tractors and two living quarter cabooses – leading the team along a safe route.

Each member of the team, including Ian, was due to ski alongside Sir Ranulph in rotation.

During the trek temperatures will plummet to below -50C as they head south.

The aim is to raise £6.4m for Seeing is Believing, an international charity tackling blindness.