Vanished North Pole solo woman presumed dead

19th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

HELSINKI, March 19 (AFP) - A search team looking for Finnish-French North Pole adventurer Dominick Arduin, who is now presumed to be dead, found no sign of her on Friday after combing the area where she was believed to be.

HELSINKI, March 19 (AFP) - A search team looking for Finnish-French North Pole adventurer Dominick Arduin, who is now presumed to be dead, found no sign of her on Friday after combing the area where she was believed to be.

"The helicopters searched again this morning in all of the zones where she was expected to be, but found no sign of her," said Christian de Marliave of the Paris-based firm Cerpolex that is organizing and funding the rescue operation.

After refueling, the two helicopters would set out on a final sweep later Friday before returning to their base in northern Russia at dusk and formally end the search, De Marliave told AFP.

On Friday the search team found a hat and a ski pole from an earlier expedition, but after scanning the Russian Arctic for more than a week rescuers have yet to find any signs of Arduin, apart from an old ski track and her first campsite.

An experienced Arctic adventurer, Arduin, 43, went missing on March 6, a day after she set out on the ice from Russian Siberia on her second attempt to reach the North Pole alone on skis, a feat never accomplished by a woman.

A search for her was launched on March 9, but with no sign of her for more than 10 days, her support team and rescuers now believe her to be dead.

In one of her last calls to her support team on March 5, Arduin had said that the next morning she intended to cross a one-kilometer (half-mile) stretch of open water in the kayak she had brought along.

De Marliave said Arduin probably fell through the ice and into the water and froze to death.

Last year, Arduin had to give up her first bid to get to the northernmost point on earth after she fell into freezing water and suffered frostbite to her feet, leading to the amputation of all her toes.

Born in France, Arduin had lived in Finland for the past 15 years.

© AFP

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