Yacht Berserk disappeared after dropping off South Pole expedition

The search for the three missing crew of an expedition yacht in Antarctica has been called off after their empty liferaft was found. 

Two crew from the yacht Berserk, who had been dropped on the ice to make an assualt on the South Pole, managed to reach the safety of a New Zealand research station in Antarctica.

Their expedition was attempting to mark the centenary of Norwegian

explorer Roald Amundsen’s South Pole expedition, which reached the

South Pole on 14th December, 1912.

Berserk was caught in a severe storm, and the two on the ice abandoned their quest and drove their quad bikes for almost 24 hours before reaching New Zealand’s Scott Base. They caught the last

flight out of Antarctica before the approaching winter

made escape impossible.

The three crew lost to the Antarctic Ocean have been named as Norwegians Robert Skaane, 34, and Tom Gisle Bellika, 36, and sole British crew member Leonard Banks, 32.
 
An extensive air and sea search found no trace of the 14-metre Berserk, which disappeared in Mc Murdo Sound, 15 nm north of Scott Base, in minus 12-degree Celsius waters on 22nd February, except for its damaged life raft which appeared to have floated free from the yacht.

Some reports suggest that the yacht’s crew had not followed protocol in their voyage to the Antarctic. They needed to get permission from the Norwegian Polar Institute to sail below 60 degrees south. Scott Base manager Troy Beaumont commented, ‘There are a whole lot of treaties down here and they have managed to violate every one of them,’ he added.