(Punta Arenas, Chile) Famed global warming activist James Schneider and a journalist friend were both found frozen to death on Saturday, about 90 miles from South Pole Station, by the pilot of a ski plane practicing emergency evacuation procedures.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing", recounted the pilot, Jimmy Dolittle. "There were two snowmobiles with cargo sleds, a tent, and a bright orange rope that had been laid out on the ice, forming the words, 'HELP-COLD'".
One friend of Prof. Schneider told ecoEnquirer that he had been planning a trip to an ice sheet to film the devastation brought on by global warming. His wife, Linda, said that she had heard him discussing the trip with his environmental activist friends, but she assumed that he was talking about the Greenland ice sheet, a much smaller ice sheet than Antarctica.
"He kept talking about when they 'get down to chili', and I thought they were talking about the order in which they would consume their food supplies", Mrs. Schneider recounted. "I had no idea they were talking about Chile, the country from which you usually fly or sail in order to reach Antarctica".
Apparently, while all of Prof. Schneider's friends were assuming that the July trek would be to Greenland, during Northern Hemisphere summer, his plans were actually to snowmobile to the South Pole - which, in July, is in the dead of winter.
Mr. Dolittle related how some people do not realize that, even if there has been warming in Antarctica, the average temperature at the South Pole in July still runs about 70 degrees F below zero. "Some people think that July is warm everywhere on Earth."
"And I was surprised to see how close they got to South Pole Station. They ran through all of their gas supplies for the snowmobiles", explained Doolittle. "They had cold weather gear and clothes, but during this time of year you just don't go outside unless it is an emergency."
"At least James died for something he believed in", said Mrs. Schneider. "He died while trying to raise awareness of the enormous toll that global warming is taking on the Earth."
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