New Delhi, Apr 10 : Overcoming obstacles like cold temperatures as low as -45 degree Celsius, very high wind-chill, shifting sea ice, pressure ridges, constant rains and Polar bears, the Indian Navy team unfurled the tricolour at the at the final frontier of adventure activity - North Pole -- that challenges the human spirit of courage and survival.
The 10-member team reached the northernmost point of earth at 8:16 p.m. on Wednesday and become first Indians to complete the three poles -- Mount Everest, South Pole and North Pole -- challenge.
Three of the 10-members have also joined the elite club to successfully complete the "Three Poles" challenge.
Commander Satyabrata Dam, leader of the ski expedition team said, "We are very happy and proud for hoisting our National flag at the top of the world."
Speaking to media from North Pole, Commander Dam said: "We have reached here after a physically demanding and painstaking journey. Now it seems like we are on some different planet where the sun remains with us all the time and the temperature hovers around minus 40 degree Celsius."
Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta greeted the expedition team personally for its daring mission. Speaking to the media, Rear Admiral Shekhar Sinha and Principal Director of DAPSA S C Joshi, termed the expedition as a historic endeavour, which has made the nation proud.
Till now, only 23 persons have achieved the rare feat of visiting all three poles, and only 64 people in the world have visited one of the poles and Mt. Everest. Therefore, any organisation or nation in the world cannot rival the feat.
The Navy had already achieved the feat of conquering Mt. Everest under the leadership of Commander Satyabrata Dam on May 19, 2004. The Naval team successfully completed their ski traverse to the Geographic South Pole on December 28, 2006.
The success of the above two missions made the Navy team the first Indian Team to Ski Traverse to the Geographic South Pole, the first submariners in the World to reach the South Pole and first Indian Everest Summiteers to reach the South Pole.
Commander Dam, Vikas Kumar and Rakesh Kumar were also part of the Navy team, which conquered Mt. Everest and the South Pole. Eight members of the North Pole team were also part of the South Pole expedition.
Surgeon Lt Ajay Sharma became the only doctor in the world to go to both poles. The oldest member of the team is Commander Dam, who is 43, and the youngest member is Sonam Tamchos, who is yet to celebrate his 21st birthday.
The North Pole expedition team comprises of Commander Satyabrata Dam, Lt Avinash Khajuria, Surgeon Lt Ajay Sharma, MCERA 1 Raj Kumar, POMA Rakesh Kumar, POMA Vikas Kumar, LME R Pandey, SEA 1 B Singh, Sea 1 Manoj Vats, MA 1 Sonam Tamchos. By Praful Kumar Singh