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Franco-Finnish woman explorer lost in Arctic

HELSINKI, March 9 (AFP) – The support crew of Finnish-French adventurer Dominick Arduin, who is trying to become the first woman to reach the North Pole alone on skis, said rescue helicopters failed to locate her on Tuesday.

Her Russian-based logistics team launched a rescue operation for Arduin Tuesday morning when she had not been heard from for four days.

“The rescue helicopters didn’t locate her. They searched for her for an hour but had to call off the operation and return as it was getting dark,” Pasi Pikkupeura, a Finnish expedition spokesman, told AFP.

The search and rescue effort would continue on Wednesday if the weather permitted, he said, adding that a storm was forecast for the area were Arduin was believed to be located.

The operation is coordinated by the French-based Circumpolar Expedition (Cerpolex) group, which provides support and logistics services for Arduin’s expedition, he said.

Arduin set out on Friday from northern Russia on her second attempt to reach the geographical North Pole alone on skis.

However, she almost immediately had to paddle across a 55-kilometer (34-mile) stretch of partly frozen water first to get onto firm ice, something she estimated would take her two days.Her support team had not heard from her by Tuesday, despite the fact that she was supposed to be in daily contact by satellite phone, Arduin’s support team said.

Her most recent known location was from Saturday, when the last signal from a satellite beacon pinpointing her position was received, it said.

A website tracking a nearby Danish expedition said similar problems with the same kind of beacon had been reported by that team over the weekend.

Last year, the 43-year-old Arduin had to give up her first bid to reach the North Pole after she fell into the water and suffered frostbite to her feet, which in the end forced the amputation of all her toes.


                                                              Subject: France news