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Tom Crean Rescue – Floe-Hopping Lifesaver

Tom Crean’s first documented case of life-saving heroics came when he navigated his way between ice floes jumping from one to another whilst surrounded by hungry Killer Whales before scaling mountain glaciers to rescue Apsley Cherry-Gerrard and Bowers, whilst on the Terra Nova expedition with Scott.

When he and his two expedition colleagues Lieutenant Henry Bowers and Apsley Cherry-Garrard became trapped after the ice on which they were camping broke up, Tom Crean was charged with attempting rescue.

Tom Crean Rescue - Floe-Hopping Lifesaver Tom Crean BookTo make matters worse they were in charge of four expedition ponies and a number of provisions on four heavy sledges, all were vital to the expedition.

Their position seemed hopeless and Crean had to jump from floe to floe to find a path that would lead him to the barrier edge. It was an arduous, frightening task that could at any time have seen Crean sink under the ice to become a meal for the killer whales who were continually circling the floes.

Incredibly, as Bowers and Cherry-Garrard watched from a distant ice floe, Crean reached the Barrier edge and scaled the cliffs to help bring about a safe rescue. He eventually happened upon Captain Scott and Lawrence Oates and all three raced back to work quickly in a bid to save their colleagues, the ponies and the sledge provisions.

A really sad footnote to this, the first Tom Crean rescue, is that three of the four ponies were lost under the ice despite a determined attempt by the men to save them.  On expeditions, crew members would forge close bonds with the animals they were looking after and Bowers pony Uncle Bill, his own favourite, would be among the ponies that perished

Read Tom Crean’s full story. You can buy the book at the following link.

Biography of Tom Crean – Crean – The Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero

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