Frostbite could shatter Mnikathi’s South Pole dream

2012-01-20 00:00

FROSTBITE could force Nzuzo Mnikathi to abandon his dream of completing the 111 km trek across Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 19-year-old, who is part of the The Unlimited Child South Pole expedition team is set to complete the journey on January 24 — but frostbite has affected Mnikathi’s toes, fingers and his nose. Team doctor Pete Berning is closely watching him to determine if emergency evacuation is necessary. “Although the extreme cold has been really tough on Nzuzo, if we can contain this situation, we are confident that we will be able to help him live his dream,” said Berning.

Mnikathi has been taken off any duties that will require him to remove his protective gloves.On the team’s update, posted on the website www.theunlimitedchild.co.za on Tuesday, the team reported that the South Pole was only 57 km away.

In the entry, team member Sean Wisedale noted that temperatures are a chilling 32 degrees below zero and how they had covered just less than 18 km in eight hours. They will attempt to walk 20 km today.

“Nzuzo has now been diagnosed with frostbite in three places. The 19-year-old never knew what hit him yesterday.

“He has the support of our backup team, is in good spirits, but is quite dazzled by the complexity of skills required to stay alive here.

“Just going to the loo is a half- hour exercise and is carried out using a ‘Wag Bag’ in a bucket. No waste may be left here because there is very little precipitation to break it down.

“The wind-textured surface extending to the horizon is a whole lot more engaging than a magazine. Finishing off is a little more challenging than [on] standard porcelain as you might imagine,” wrote Wisedale.

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