SA’s South Pole teen may be evacuated

2012-01-19 17:05

A South African teen’s dream of becoming the youngest black person to walk the South Pole might come to an end barely four days into his daring venture.

Nzuzo Mnikathi (19) has developed early phases of frostbite and might need to be evacuated, according to a statement.

The young adventurer is part of a six-person expedition team from South Africa. He represents the non-profit organisation, The Unlimited Child, to highlight the importance of early childhood development.

The team’s doctor, Peter Berning, has been closely monitoring Mnikathi and has taken him off any duties that will require him to remove his protective gloves.

Mnikathi, who hails from Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, participated in a number of training sessions in a commercial freezer before he left, which was aimed at preparing his body and mind for the extreme cold.

“We have the utmost confidence in the expedition leader Dave Pritt and the team doctor Pete Berning to make the right decision. We are on standby, ready to provide any support Nzuzo might need, so that he won’t have to face this ordeal alone,” said Steph Bester, CEO of the expedition sponsor, The Unlimited.

The treacherous 111km trek began on Monday. Yesterday, the team covered 18.6 kilometres in nine hours amid temperatures of 32 degrees below zero, blistering winds and no visibility by the afternoon.

Should Mnikathi need to be pulled out, the rest of the team will continue until they reach the South Pole, their target being next Tuesday, Bester said.

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