Latin America & Caribbean

Attempt to recreate Kon-Tiki voyage ends with rescue

The Chilean Navy rescuing members of the Kon-Tiki expedition Image copyright EPA
Image caption All of the crew were reported to be in good health

Authorities in Chile say they have rescued 14 people from two rafts, ending an attempt to emulate the famous Kon-Tiki voyage of 1947.

The "Kon-Tiki2" expedition began in Peru in November and the rafts reached Chile's Easter Island in 43 days.

However, the expedition organisers said they had decided to bring the return voyage to an end as it had "proven more difficult due to atypical winds".

The Chilean government said the rescued crew were well.

The crew had set off for Chile on the return voyage in January but strong currents pulled them off course.

Crossing the Pacific on tree trunks

The Chilean Navy said in a statement (in Spanish) that the rafts had been about 1,000 miles (1,600km) west of the city of Puerto Montt.

The expedition put out a distress signal on Wednesday, asking for help.

"We realize that reaching South America will take too long and we prefer to evacuate to ensure safety for all," expedition leader Torgeir Higraff said in a statement.

He blamed the El Nino weather phenomenon for creating "atypical" weather patterns, adding that in "a normal year, we would have reached South America by now. Instead, we are still 900 nautical miles from land and the weather forecasts are not promising".

Some of the crew on board were carrying out research on climate change, pollution from microplastics and the impact of the El Nino weather effect.

The original 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition saw a mainly Norwegian team travel across the Pacific on a raft.

That was led by the Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl, considered one of the great adventurers of the 20th Century.

The expedition he led proved that it would have been possible to travel by raft from Peru to Polynesia, contrary to the received wisdom at the time.

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