Researchers Studying Arctic Ice Feared Drowned

Two Dutch scientists encountered thin ice in an unexpected area
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2015 12:26 PM CDT
Researchers Studying Arctic Ice Feared Drowned
This handout photo provided by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Arctic sea ice in 2013.   (AP Photo/NOAA)

(Newser) – Two Dutch researchers are presumed to be drowned while exploring an area of the Arctic where they expected to find thick ice. Marc Cornelissen and Philip de Roo were last heard from on Tuesday, when Cornelissen left a jokey voicemail about how it was so warm near Bathurst Island that the two were skiing in their underwear, reports the CBC. “I’m glad you guys don’t have pictures of us on the ice,” he told colleagues at the Cold Facts research organization. “But it was the only way to deal with the heat.” He added that they would likely have to make a detour as they approached the island. "We think we see thin ice in front of us, which is quite interesting," Cornelissen said. "And we're going to research some more of that if we can."

The next day, their base camp received an automated distress call. A search plane spotted their equipment in an area with thin ice and open water, as well as their sled dog safely perched on a chunk of ice, but the experienced explorers were nowhere to be found, reports the Guardian. Some of their personal items were seen floating near where the SOS signal originated, reports Nunatsiaq Online. Their mission had been to collect data from a region designated by the World Wildlife Fund as the Last Ice Area, where summer sea ice "is expected to be most resilient to warming and to remain for decades to come," according to the Cold Facts website. (Read more Arctic sea ice stories.)

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