BRITISH POLAR EXPLORER HENRY WORSLEY has died after an attempt to cross Antarctica solo. The explorer had been attempting to achieve what the famed explorer Ernest Shackleton had been unable to do 100 years ago. Worsley, a former Army officer, was raising money for a charity that supports wounded servicemen and women, which is a charity headed up by Prince William and his wife and brother.
“My journey is at an end,” Worsley said in a recorded message, after radioing for help. “I have run out of time, physical endurance, and the simple sheer ability to slide one ski in front of the other to travel the distance required to reach my goal. I will lick my wounds, they will heal over time, and I will come to terms with the disappointment.”
Worsley was 30 miles shy of his goal, and was 71 days into the journey. After being rescued on Saturday, he was taken to a hospital, where he died of “complete organ failure” resulting from an infection, as well as exhaustion and dehydration. He carried all of his food for the 80-day trip with him, which made the endeavor an incredibly difficult undertaking from the get-go.
Similar treks have been completed before — in 1997, Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland crossed the continent, but he used a kite to help him drag along the sled that contained all of his provisions, and in 2012, British explorer Felicity Aston crossed solo, but had supply drops along the way so she didn’t need to carry all of it with her at once.
Tributes to Worsley have been pouring in, from Prince William to David Beckham to Bear Grylls. Worsley reached his fundraising goal of 100,000 GBP, and said that he would get the mental stamina to work through the trek by thinking of the injured veterans he was raising money for. “He was a man who showed great courage and determination and we are incredibly proud to be associated with him,” Prince William said.
The granddaughter of Ernest Shackleton, Worsley’s hero, said his death was a “huge loss to the adventuring world.”